The great Greek physician Hippocrates once said “Walking is man’s best medicine”. Walking daily can reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases and increase health benefits not only physical, but also mental well-being by reducing stress. It is an aerobic exercise, which means that it increases oxygen flow in the bloodstream and helps eliminate toxins and wastes.
The Impact of Walking Exercise on Weight Loss
The effect of walking exercise is amazing if you do it daily. For instance, when you consume food that contains 300 kcal, you can expend approximately 300 kcal if you walk at 3 miles per hour, which means that the energy intake from the consumed food (300kcal) is equal to the energy consumed by moderate walking 30-60 min at 3 Mph. This type of activity would help with weight loss. If this continues for a period of two to four months the body weight is reduced. Walking combined with a healthy diet, will increase your heart rate which, in turn, will improve your fitness. Walking outdoors is a great immunity booster, it boosts your mental health. Exposure to sunlight helps produce vitamin D, and it will also enhance the functioning of the immune system.
Fitness and Life coach Lisa Olona, recommends that while you walk it is important to keep your heart rate up i.e. between 120-150 bpm. “So, do a power walk, “she says. Focusing on a power walk will help maintain your elevated heart rate. When walking, your arms should be involved with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. The higher your heart rate, the more calories you will burn. You will burn more calories if you walk briskly for 30 minutes at a heart rate of 130bpm, than walking slowly for 45 min at a heart rate of 90 bpm. You can increase your heart rate by walking up and down hills without having to increase your pace. It is important to keep track of your diet, pace, distance and heart rate if you are doing this specifically for weight loss. It is recommended to include whole foods, such as lean proteins, fresh-veggies and fruits, low carb foods and good fats that are nutrient-dense in your diet.
Practice This to Make It a Routine
- Take an easy paced 15 minutes’ walk
- Walk 5 days a week to build a habit
- Add a few extra minutes each time
- Aim for a brisk space
Walk Properly with These Tips
- Always keep your head up
- Shoulders should be kept down and back, don’t hunch over, because it can strain the muscles and joints in your shoulders, neck and back.
- Focus on core muscles by pulling your belly button in towards your spine
- Swing your arms, but don’t swing across the body or up too high
- Maintain a heel to toe pace, means strike the ground with your heels first
You Should Not Do the Following Things While Walking
- Don’t look down
- Don’t roll your hips
- Don’t slouch
- Don’t walk in the wrong shoes.
Other Benefits Are
- Improved Eyesight: It helps combat glaucoma by relieving eye pressure. Glaucoma is developed when too much fluid builds up in the eye, increasing the pressure inside. That pressure affects the optical nerve which results in visual impairment. The glaucoma research foundation recommends walking as one of the best ways to reduce the risk of developing glaucoma and even relieve its symptoms.
- Improves Asthmatic and Respiratory Conditions: Walking is a slow intensity activity and you can build it up when you feel comfortable. It is a good option to improve your lung capacity, make breathing a bit smoother and reduce your asthma symptoms. It is better for asthma patients to breathe through nose rather than the mouth because air is warmed and filtered before reaching the lungs.
- Prevents heart disease: According to the American Heart Association, walking is no less effective than running when it comes to prevention of heart disease and stroke. A half-an-hour walk daily helps improve blood circulation, and avoid serious problems like coronary heart disease, by lowering high BP and cholesterol levels.
- Prevents chances of Alzheimer’s: Being sedentary for a long period of time can affect the proper functioning of the brain, that means the brain starts shrinking for sedentary people. By doing exercise like walking, you bring change to your sedentary lifestyle and this will rejuvenate your brain activity. It will increase the oxygen circulation throughout the body and the brain starts functioning better than earlier, this reduces the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- Improved digestion: Walking half an hour daily not only reduces the risk of developing colon cancer, but also improves digestion and regulates bowel movements.
Walking can help you gain social life, good mood, creative thinking, reduce stress, reduce risk of other health conditions, other diseases and many more. If you are not able to work out due to your busy lifestyle include your walking exercise in your daily routine, like using stairs instead of lift, walk to the local shops instead of driving, walk part of your commute, engage in house cleaning etc. Remember, even a little is good but more is better.