Regular exercise is essential for a healthy body. However, everyone cannot and need not do vigorous exercises like aerobics, weightlifting. A balanced and moderate exercise routine that your body can sustain might be a better option for you. The idea is to include a regular dose of physical activity in your day-to-day routine.
Walking is one of the best, and most recommended exercise options. A mere 30 minutes of brisk walk every day can help in reducing weight and improving overall health.
Why is walking a recommended exercise for almost everyone?
Walking is a low impact exercise. It does not require any vigorous calisthenics. People of most age groups can use walking to stay fit. It does not require costly equipment and can be done anytime, anywhere. Besides giving many health benefits, it can help cheer you up too!
How much do you need to walk to stay fit?
For losing weight, it is best to a brisk walk for 30 to 90 minutes every day. If you miss your exercise one day, you can compensate by walking more the next day. Aim to accomplish at least 150 minutes or 2.5 hours of brisk walk every week.
Walk at a pace that exerts you but is not more than your body’s tolerance limit. When you walk, you should be breathing faster than usual, but you shouldn’t be breathless. You should be able to talk but find it difficult to sing. You can use a fitness band or apps on your smartphone to track your heart rate and make sure you are in the moderate-intensity exercise zone.
What are the benefits of walking?
Walking is a simple exercise that has many benefits. It can lead you to better health. And it can also make you feel happier. Here are the major advantages of walking:
Walking gives better physical health:
This is one of the biggest benefits of walking. Walking regularly can be an excellent way to burn fat. It is a moderate-intensity exercise, so almost everyone can do it. You can walk at a pace comfortable for you and slowly increase the speed and time. But to lose weight, you must be regular in exercising. And aim to walk for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Walking uphill is more effective for weight loss than walking on a level surface.
Brisk walking for over 30 minutes can burn up to 300 calories. When you walk or do other similar exercises, your body burns sugars first. These sugars that were stored as fuel get used up in about 30 minutes. And then the body starts burning fat. If you want to lose weight, you should exercise enough every day to reach this stage. So, while you can start with less, try to increase your walking time to more than 30 minutes every day.
And don’t forget to restrict your calorie intake. If you continue eating an unhealthy diet, no amount of exercise can help you lose weight.
2. Fight against diseases:
Walking every day improves your body’s strength and endurance. If you regularly walk 30 minutes in a day, at least 5 days a week, this can help in preventing and managing several health problems. These include coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes.
3.Walking boosts immunity:
Walking is great for your lungs too. It boosts immunity, improves your stamina, and makes you fitter. A fit body is better able to fight against common diseases like flu. Those who walk for over 30 minutes every day may have less risk of respiratory tract infections.
4. Strengthen your bones and muscles:
Exercising regularly tones your muscles and increases bone density and strength. When you walk, you carry your weight against gravity. So, it is a weight-bearing exercise. If done regularly, it will make your muscles and bones stronger. Walking on a hilly area or such inclined surfaces helps more in this. Walking also improves your balance.
5. Makes you feel more energetic:
Try a brisk walk when you are feeling tired. You’ll feel a surge of energy that will perk you up. This is because when you walk or do any other exercise, it increases the oxygen flow through the body. Exercising also boosts hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. All this helps in making you feel more energetic.
Walking can also improve your mental health. Check out these psychological benefits of walking:
Walking makes you feel more energetic. And when you feel full of energy, you feel happier. Also, regular exercise gives you a sense of achievement and pride in your persistence. If you walk with a buddy, or listen to music while walking, or have a nice park to walk in, all such factors can also contribute to making you feel happier after a walk.
Studies have shown that regular walking can reduce anxiety and depression, boost your self-esteem, and make you feel positive and optimistic.
2. Mental relaxation and rejuvenation:
When you walk, your mind might go on a run too. Sometimes, walking can be as relaxing and rejuvenating as meditation. Fill your mind with happy thoughts, enjoy the feeling of your body’s strength, relax your mind, listen to music if you like it, and let the walk rejuvenate you physically and mentally.
3. Walking with a friend can cheer you up:
Walking with a friend or partner is a great idea. The two of you can keep each other motivated. And walking with a friend is fun too.
4. Make it your Me-Time:
Think of your walking time as your Me-Time. It is the time when you are caring for yourself. It is the time that can make you feel better and stronger. Enjoy this time and don’t let anybody or anything rob you of it. Keep your walking time regular. It is essential for your overall wellbeing.
Walking is an excellent exercise that almost anyone can do. However, here are some precautions you must keep in mind:
- Consult a doctor before you take up walking or any other exercise.
- Always warm up by walking at an easy pace for 5 minutes. And give yourself time to cool down after walking.
- Wear comfortable clothes and suitable footwear.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Drink water before and after walking.
- Walk in safe areas. Avoid dark places, roads with heavy traffic, or other hazardous spaces.
- Take light and easy steps. When you walk, your heel should touch down before your toes. If possible, walk on grass instead of concrete.
So you see there are many benefits of walking. It is an excellent way to stay active and fit. Walking regularly can have very positive effects on your physical and emotional health. If you can’t walk continuously for 30 or more minutes, walk for ten minutes three times a day. If you can’t walk briskly, walk at your own pace. Start slowly, increase your speed and the distance you cover as you build stamina. But walk every day. Make it your ‘Me-Time’ and enjoy it.