Walk your way to health!
The 21st century's sedentary lifestyle has made us robots. We work , eat , sleep and repeat. It's unhealthy not just for the body but also the mind. No time to join the gym ? No time to eat correctly? Then how can one stay fit & healthy? There's an underrated exercise called walking, it doesn't require any special equipment or machine. All you need is a good pair of shoes and you're good to go! The benefits of walking are so obvious yet not given as much as importance it deserves. Recent studies, proved that walking everyday for 30 mins can benefit an individual in numerous ways. Let's take take a look at the health benefits one can enjoy from regular walks!
Benefits of walking
1. Slashes the risks of cardiovascular disease.
According to a study by the Harvard Medical School, walking for just 2.5 hours a week, which is 21 minutes a day can cut the risk of heart disease by 30%. Walking helps in maintaining a healthy heart.
2. Alleviates your mood.
Walking helps boost the production of endorphins and the "feel good" chemical in the brain and that's exactly why we feel so relieved and calm after a long walk.
3. Boosts fat reduction.
Just like any other exercise, walking also helps in reducing fat by burning calories. Walking at a certain pace , can help one loose fat especially from the belly.
4. Lowers blood pressure.
If you suffer from high blood pressure levels , walking may hold the key to improved heart health. A Korean study shows that walking just 40 minutes a day lowered blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension.
5. Prevents cancer.
Walking has been found to be helpful for those undergoing cancer treatment by reducing the side effects of chemotherapy. It can also lower the risk of breast cancer.
6. Improves memory power.
Walking improves blood circulation and helps in supplying oxygen and glucose to the brain, which results in better functioning of brain cells. Hence, improving memory.
7. Cure diabetes.
Scientists recommend 3,000 to 7,500 steps a day to treat type 2 diabetes and suggest that you sit less and be more active. Walking helps in prevention of diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels.
8. Increases lung capacity.
Walking requires a higher amount of oxygen. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide at a larger volume can help increase your lung capacity. It also increases your stamina.
9. Improves digestion.
Walking after meals is great. It helps you reduce weight and also supports your digestive system. It helps reduce and prevent gastrointestinal discomfort.
How do you start walking?
If you haven't taken a long walk recently , you need to get started with shorter periods of walking and gradually build up your walking time. You might want to take longer walks every other day at first. Remember, it is okay to rest but not to give up.
So how long do you exactly need to walk?
It is observed that if you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 or more calories. Which means, to lose a pound a week, you generally need to eliminate 500 calories a day. ... For weight loss, the more intense your exercise, or the longer you exercise, the more calories you burn. However, balance is important.
What speed should you walk at?
If your goal is to loose weight, you need to focus on the pace. If you walk too slow it won't really benefit you and if you walk too fast, you'll witness fatigue. You should be walking at a pace where you're able to breathe and talk but unable to sing.
1. WARM UP & STRETCHES -
Warm ups and stretches help reduce post- workout muscle soreness and pain. Below are some types of stretches you can try before you start walking.
• Hamstring and ankle -
Sit on the edge of a chair with your right leg extended, right heel on floor. Flex right foot and keep toes pointed up. Lean forward gently from your hips to feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Repeat with left leg.
• Calf stretch -
Stand up straight, holding on to a chair. Put left leg behind you, keeping left heel on the floor. Bend right knee and lean toward the chair. You should feel the stretch in the calf of the left leg. Repeat with right leg.
• Leg swings -
Stand up straight, holding on to a chair with your left hand for support. Standing to the side of the chair on your left leg, move your right leg to the front, side and back, tapping your toe at each point. Repeat with left leg
Remember : Start by warming up, then stretch walk, take a break and then stretch again.
2. Well fitted shoes -
It is necessary to wear shoes that are comfortable, fit well and meant for walks. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes to avoid discomfort and shoe bites. Select a shoe that fits your feet and your budget.
3. Stay hydrated.
Always carry a bottle of water with you on every walk. Walking too fast can leave you dehydrated and dizzy. If you feel tired and thirsty , take a break and sip some water and start again.
4. Comfortable clothing -
If you take a walk in tight skinny jeans , you'll end up with muscle soreness and cramps so wear workout friendly clothes i.e loose and light clothes.
5. Knee caps / ankle brace.
If you suffer from arthritis or joint pain. It's wise to put on a knee cap or ankle brace to get extra support while walking.
So when are you putting on your shoes and heading out?