Walking is probably one of the most underestimated forms of exercise in today’s society. Many people see the need to join a gym, work with a personal trainer or invest in home gym equipment. It is also a misconception that to get into shape you need to almost sweat blood in order to achieve your fitness goals. Indeed, that is an option but there is also an alternative. What about walking? Yes, you hear it, walking. It is not always necessary to be gasping for air as you collapse in a heap on the floor at the end of your workout. Simply adopt a regular walking routine. The benefits of walking daily will have a significant impact on your overall health and certainly it will increase your fitness levels. Here below are just some of the benefits you will discover.
Regular walking activity can greatly help you to lose weight. When we adopt a sedentary lifestyle our metabolism slows down leading to increased levels of blood pressure, increased blood sugar which in turn could lead to diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, the more active you are the more your metabolism will increase helping you to combat these diseases. It is also good news that you don’t have to take extreme measures to achieve this, just a regular daily walk will do the trick.
Another benefit of walking is that your overall mood will improve. First and foremost you will be outside in the fresh air which in itself ensures you are filling your lungs with fresh oxygen making you feel more alive. You will get a change of environment which in turn will help to fight depression. There is nothing worse that sitting around at home staring at the same four walls all day long. Getting outside and being at one with nature can be so uplifting.
We all have busy lives and are working longer hours than we need do. We are constantly having to meet deadlines and multitask ourselves to the point of frustration. Then we have a family to take care of, shopping, housework, maintenance, kids homework, it’s never ending. Therefore it is important to have some down time, time to yourself, time to switch off. Walking provides an outlet for you to get away from it all, clear your mind and approach the day with renewed vigour.
As we age our bodies start to lose muscle tone and generally become weaker in that sense. Walking will help to strengthen and tone muscles, particularly the muscles in the legs and bottom. It is also becoming increasingly common these days to see people walking with the use of ski poles. It is called Nordic Walking. This type of walking can take pressure of the lower joints and due to the nature of the technique can also assist with upper body muscle toning also, thus providing you with a full body workout.
Walking can help to improve your digestive system. An active body can aid the digestion of food, therefore if you choose to take a walk following a meal this will really help. I think we all know how uncomfortable it can be when you move to the sofa following a big meal. Trapped wind and general gastrointestinal bloating can not only cause discomfort but can be downright painful sometimes, so avoid this by being more active.
Helps with Joint Pain
Studies have shown that walking helps to reduce joint pain caused by arthritis. The most common areas where arthritis can set in are our knees and hips. Already 2 of my relatives have already undergone hip replacements due to experiencing severe pain and discomfort due to the onset of arthritis. In fact hip replacements are becoming much more common in society these days but can be prevented. Walking can help to improve this condition as the regular movement will help to lubricate the joints and strengthen the surrounding supporting muscles. Early adoption of a regular walking routine can even ensure that arthritis doesn’t occur in the first place.
Gentle on the Purse Strings
Walking as an activity will certainly help you maintain not only a healthy lifestyle but also a healthy bank balance. Why? Because it is one of the most cost effective forms of exercise. You don’t need any expensive equipment, you don’t need to subscribe to a gym membership, in fact you don’t need any investment at all. In fact all you need are a pair of comfortable shoes that are fit for purpose, motivation and a little time for yourself.
It is very important to get a good nights sleep for many reasons. Regular quality sleep of 7 to 9 hours helps to preserve one’s immune system, helps with cognitive health and avoids having periods of fatigue during the day. Regular aerobic activity such as walking will greatly help to achieve this. Studies have shown that as little as 10 minutes of regular daily exercise can significantly help with the quality of a person’s sleep.
Regular walking will help you to focus more. We are all distracted these days by such things as television and social media . We are constantly connected and our brains are processing everything all the time, much faster than we did 20 to 30 years ago, for example. Taking yourself away from this environment for 30 minutes or more every day will help you to have a period of calm where you can organise your thoughts, perhaps find some creative ideas or inspiration.
Walking, as well as having the obvious health benefits can also have many social benefits. If you live alone, for example, you can join walking groups of like-minded people and enjoy the experience together. Similarly for families, it can be an opportunity to spend some quality family time together strengthening that family bond.
Ready to take a hike?
Evidently the benefits of walking daily far outweigh the benefits of doing nothing. You’ll be much healthier for it and it won’t cost you very much. So the next thing you need to do is take that first step out of the door and establish a routine that will be as much a part of your everyday life as having breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just decide upon a time that suits you and start to enjoy the new you. Good luck and I’d love to hear your story so please feel free to leave a comment below.