Health And Fitness Benefits Of Walking

Walking is a low-impact type of exercise and for that reason people tend to underestimate its effectiveness. However, just because it is not as intense as other workouts like running and cycling, does not mean it’s not effective enough as a form of exercise. Just like with other cardio workouts, it has a lot of benefits. When most people think of working out, the number one reason or motivation that comes to mind is weight loss. So, because they have the misconception that walking is not as effective as other forms of exercises, they think they cannot achieve their weight loss goals just by walking. But there is more to walking than what you might think; it can help you to not only lose weight, but you will also reap other important benefits too.

When talking about physical exercises, there are three fundamentals that one needs to consider. These are duration, frequency and the intensity of the workout. There is no arguing that walking cannot be compared to running or cycling. As such, if we take into account the duration factor, in order to get the same results that a runner normally gets from running, you would need to walk for a longer time if you choose to walk. Similarly, if we consider frequency, you would need to walk more frequently to achieve the same results as someone whose choice of a cardio workout is cycling. As far as intensity is concerned, because walking is without a doubt of a low intensity, in order to get the same benefits as someone who runs often, you would have to incorporate brisk walking with walking more frequently and for a longer time.

In fact, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), if you walk briskly for about 30 minutes for 5 days every week, you will have the same benefits as someone who runs for about 20 minutes for 3 days every week. Now, if you think about it, it might seem as if running is more efficient in terms of time. However, with running also comes issues such as cool-downs, warm-ups and injuries. If you take into account such factors, you will realize that when compared to running, walking is not as time consuming as you originally thought it was.

Walking is a good form of exercise as it not only improves your physical health, your mental health will also be boosted. Also, you don’t have to go to a gym to walk. You can simply go outside and decide which way you want to go and for how long you want to walk, and that’s it! Further, there are certain individuals in our society who are not in a position to do high-impact sports or activities for various reasons. For instance, those who have certain ailments such as diseases that affect the bones or those who are morbidly obese. The only type of exercise they can perform is walking. The same is true for the elderly in our society. Although it is in their best interest to continue exercising, they cannot do high impact workouts such as running. So, their best and only option in most instances is to walk.

Below are some of the reasons why walking is so beneficial to people of all ages.

Weight Loss

One of the many benefits associated with walking is weight loss. It is no secret that in order to lose weight, one has to burn calories, and walking does just that. Whenever you walk, you are actually burning calories. When you walk, your heart rate increases and this uses up energy, causing you to burn calories. If you commit to walking fast for more than 30 minutes at least 3 to 5 times a week, you can make great strides in as far as losing weight is concerned. Of course, this has to be coupled with a heathy diet, otherwise you will not achieve the desired effect. Walking frequently with the aim of losing weight and still eating unhealthy foods will defeat the purpose of your goal. As mentioned above, how long you walk and your pace will determine how many calories you burn.

Improve Your Immune System

In order for your body to fight off infections, it requires sufficient white blood cells. Therefore, if you want to improve your immune system, there has to be an increase in the amount of white blood cells in your body. It has been shown that exercises such as walking on a regular basis, especially if you are walking briskly, will actually help to increase the all-important white blood cells and boost the system. What that means is that you will not be prone to having conditions such as the cold or flu if you walk regularly; these are conditions which normally affect one’s immunity.

Boost The Health Of Your Heart

Another benefit associated with walking is that it can actually help to minimize the risk of having a cardiovascular condition like a heart attack. We are living in times where more people are suffering from heart related ailments because of things such as obesity and stress. It is therefore important to ensure that you do whatever it takes to ensure the good health of your heart. Studies have shown that if you walk frequently, you can minimize the risk of having a condition such as a heart attack by almost 31%. However, when it comes to the functioning of the heart, it is important that you walk at a quick pace whenever you do so. That way you will benefit more than someone walking with an average pace.

Stress Reduction

Stress is a big issue in our world today and it is one of the leading causes of many physical and mental conditions among people. It is therefore important to make sure that you avoid or reduce your levels of stress at all times. And, one of the best ways to do that is to exercise on a regular basis. Walking is one of the best ways to minimize stress. When you exercise it helps to lessen the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. There are studies that have indicated that walking for at least 30 minutes when you are feeling depressed or if you have a certain depressive disorder, can actually help to improve your mood.

Unlike other cardio workouts, walking is not a very strenuous type of exercise. It is something that is very achievable. All you need to do is create time a couple of days a week and you will begin to see positive changes in no time at all; especially if you combine walking with good eating habits. If you have a dog, walking your dog regularly can actually be a fun experience as well.