Walking has been drawing many looking for a convenient exercise, especially those surrounded by vast lands in the countryside. But it is also an excellent routine exercise for city dwellers, such as getting to your destination on foot by taking the side street instead of grabbing Uber.
If you get the chance to walk, go for it as it is a passive and low-impact form of exercise that can provide tons of benefits, as discussed in detail below.
Walking is a great weight control activity. You could lose 250 to 350 calories if you do it for an hour, depending on the terrain, your weight, and your pace, among other factors.
If you intend to lose weight by walking, do it at a pace of 4 mph in 15 minutes. Walking for weight loss is really a good idea to kickstart your health and fitness journey.
Walking can improve the quality of sleep. According to a study, those who walked more slept better than other participants. Researchers of the said study recommended increasing daily steps to improve sleep.
You could easily integrate 30 minutes thrice a week of walking into your exercise routine to help boost the effects of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep.
It is best to walk early in the morning to expose yourself to bright daylight, which also helps your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Just check your workout timing because it can be stimulating to exercise close to bedtime.
Walking is ideal for those who prefer low-impact exercises. Including it in your exercise routine can help improve blood flow throughout the body.
Walking can help improve blood circulation through the following means:
- Blood vessels would effectively function to control blood pressure and reduce occurrences of strokes. A publication reported that women who walk at least 30 minutes daily reduced their stroke occurrences by 20 percent.
- Blood pressure is lowered, increasing contraction of the muscles in the lower extremities, particularly the legs.
- Blood flow improves by stimulating stagnant areas in the blood pool.
- The heart rate increases leading to strengthening, thereby preventing heart disease.
A good walk does wonders for a person’s mental well-being by boosting the release of essential hormones, such as serotonin and epinephrine, putting you always in a good mood.
Improve your self-esteem and reduce your risk of depression by walking briskly every day. For older adults, walking improves memory, cognitive function, attention, and thought processing.
Walking five miles every week can improve the brain’s resistance to Alzheimer’s disease.
Walking at about 58 city blocks, or five miles a week slows cognitive decline and maintain brain volume. It also reduces dementia, memory loss, and the progression of cognitive impairment.
Let’s You Appreciate Life and Nature
People in this modern, digital age are busy, fast-paced, and pre-occupied with work, business, school, and a host of other things.
Walking can give you the pause you need in life, allowing you to take time to smell flowers, view birds in the sky, and do other outdoor activities to get closer to nature. You to get to create pleasant memories and appreciate life in general.
How To Incorporate Walking Into Your Exercise Routine
Here are some tips when incorporating walking into your exercise routine:
- Walk with an exercise buddy or your dog. Having a company makes fitness activity more engaging and motivating.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and soft and comfortable socks made from cotton or any breathable fiber. It would also protect your feet from friction.
- If you’re serious about benefitting from walking, use a pedometer to count your steps to motivate yourself to push harder. Aim up to 10,000 steps daily.
- Set a schedule to exercise and start your routine with walking.
- Add interval training to walking, which is efficient for trimming down the weight. Add incline or speed intervals according to your current fitness level and goals.
- Incorporate walking into your daily activities, such as running errands, gardening, and playing with your children. It will relax you while aiming for your fitness goals.
- Including a 1-to-2-minute jog to your daily walk twice a week is a good idea if running is not your thing. It adds some variety and intensity to your workout while burning more calories.
- Use 5-pound weights to exercise your arms while walking, which will help tone your upper limbs while burning more calories. Remember to lift weights with proper posture to avoid muscle soreness and injury.
- Walking on an inclined surface in contrast to flat terrain challenges your body and reduces more calories to help build and tone the muscles. If you are not used to walking on inclined surfaces, gradually increase your treadmill’s incline level instead. If you prefer walking outdoors, start walking uphill, and then end by walking downhill.
- Focus on your target muscles when walking to tone your stomach and glutes. Tightening your glutes and gently drawing in your waist while walking will do the trick.
Walking brings plenty of physical and psychological benefits, most especially when included in your exercise routine. It improves sleep, cognitive functioning, mental health, and blood circulation while helping you shed pounds. Also, walking makes you closer to nature and serves as a stress-reliever. Combine it with other activities such as endurance and strengthening exercises and sports like badminton and golf to achieve your desired results while making it stimulating.