We are always presented with a bundle of excuses by people who are ignorant of their physical health. Right from not having enough time, to not having the money to join an aerobic class, to not knowing what is the right way to keep yourself physically energetic. And with the rise in technology, we have no good reason to leave our couch, making us more sedentary than we ever were.
However, an elementary solution to this can change our lives.
The most ancient that stands to be the best modern exercise is “Walking”. As a Greek physician, Hippocrates said, “walking is man’s best medicine” and he hit the nail right on the head with this one. Walking is uncomplicated, simple exercise that requires a little effort to keep both your physical and mental well-being checked. Whether you lace up your sneakers or walk to work, all you need is a step forward.
But what exactly walking does to your body and why is it so important?
Here are the benefits of walking:
1. Strengthen your Heart:
It improves the health of your heart. Walking briskly for 3 or more hours a week can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 31% and the risk of dying by 32%.
Benefits are equally robust in men and women.
According to American Heart Association, regular brisk walking can not only help you fight serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, but also lower your risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer, and colon cancer.
2. Regulates Blood Pressure
Taking a short walk after eating helps a lot in regulating your blood pressure. A Korean study states that walking for 40 minutes can lower the blood pressure of people with hypertension. Walking for 10,000 steps a day not only shows a drop in blood pressure but also increases your stamina.
The heart is a muscle too, and the more we walk, the better is the shape. Exercising your heart will lower the blood pressure in no time.
3. Aids in weight loss
Many people lose weight but end up gaining it back when they miss exercising or gymming frequently. Walking doesn’t do that to your body. It is the most effective, and inexpensive method to lose weight.
We consume calorie that gives us the energy to go through the day. However, we consume more than our calorie requirement for our body to function and those extra calories can lead to extra weight.
Walking not only burns your calorie but builds lean muscles which help you burn calorie even when your body is at rest.
4. Boost Immune Functions
Walking helps in eliminating the risk of infection by boosting your immunity.
Duke university school of medicine conducted a study on 12 sedentary adults. They walked on for 30 minutes, thrice a week on a treadmill for 10 weeks. The study showed a significant amount of change in the function of their immune system.
Walking boost your feel-good chemicals in the body which leads to better sleep, hence, better immune.
5. Boost your Energy
Going for a walk daily or when you’re tired proves to be way more effective in giving you energy than a cup of coffee.
Walking increases the flow of oxygen through the body. It also increases the level of hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine that helps in elevating your energy.
Experiencing your body producing more energy than before when you walk regularly might also make the habit easier to keep up with.
6. Uplifts your Mood
A glass of wine or dark chocolate can blunt the edge of your rough day, but walking is a zero-calorie effective strategy that offers the same. It helps your mental health. Studies show that walking turns out to be fruitful in reducing anxiety, depression, and a negative mood.
We give ourselves time to think when we walk. It separates us from the stressors of life. Giving us space where we can move our body naturally and breathe the fresh air of the environment.
A published study in the Annals of Behavioural Medicine showed that university students who walked or did any other moderate exercise had lower stress levels than a couch potato. Studies in Japan showed better results if you walk in a park or forest.
7. Extend your life
Walking as little as 2 hours a week can help reduce the risk of diseases, and help you live a longer & healthier life.
Researchers found that if you walk at an average pace compared to a slow pace, it results in a 20 per cent reduced risk of overall death.
Studies suggest that fast-paced walkers added up to 15-20 years in their life. The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the better the benefits
Staying active also helps you stay connected to loved ones and friends who can provide emotional support as you age.
8. It helps your sleep
Restless nights and weary mornings become more frequent as we age. The hours we sleep at night reduces as we age.
Walking not only shreds some calorie but also keep you up less often at night. It boosts your natural sleep hormone such as melatonin. Light to moderate walking helps you snooze better at night than to those at sedentary.
Exercising too close to bedtime can be stimulating but early morning walking is ideal
9. Helps in Creative Thinking
Walking clears your head which helps you think more creatively.
Walking on a treadmill or indoors could be a little boring but walking outdoors in the fresh air, helps you in producing ideas twice as creative.
Walking helps you in loosening your body and mind leading to the free flow of ideas. A Study conducted that people had better ideas while walking, especially while walking outdoors.
10. Improves Digestion
Our body gets to work in breaking down our nutrients right after we are done eating. Nutrients get absorbed and transported to our body, wherever needed. However, this practice improves if we walk every post meals.
Walking plays a significant role in reducing the gastric cleansing time by deducting the time that food moves through the gastrointestinal tract. This leads to faster digestion and lesser bloating.
Moving your body helps in digestion as it moves the food within your body. It’s even more helpful for people who get sluggish after a meal.
Now, who wouldn’t want to experience such amazing benefits?
Bottom Line: Try to walk as much as possible. Start with baby steps and make it into your routine. Your body will feel great at the end of the day, and that’s what matters. Take a foot forward in leading a robust life.