As far as types of exercise go, walking may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering ways to get fit. However, this incredibly under-rated exercise can actually be an easy and effective way to improve your overall health.
Walking requires very little equipment as all you really need are some comfortable trainers! You can choose your own route from countless options, such as hiking trails, city treks, and even just casual wanders around your hometown. Wherever you choose to go for a walk, the important thing is simply making the healthy decision to do so!
The following five points are great reasons to get out and go for a walk as often as you can!
A Decreased Risk of Disease
Studies have shown that those who walk regularly can lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 60%. Research has also suggested that going on these regular walks can also lower your chance of developing certain cancers - such as colon, breast and womb cancer - by 20%.
Several adverse health conditions can be linked to stress and walking is undoubtedly an amazing way to combat stress and enhance your mood. As you persist with your new walking habit, you are likely to experience an improved sense of wellbeing and your happiness levels in general can get a boost! If you are someone who feels happier when they are able to socialise often then you can join a walking group, or invite some of your friends and family to go walking with you. That's not to say that you need a walking buddy in order to enjoy the stress-relieving benefits of this activity, and you may find yourself more at peace by going at it alone.
Improved Heart Health
Those who go for frequent walks can be observed to have lower LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) and to have a lesser chance of suffering from heart disease or stroke. It is thought that with just 30 minutes of walking each day you can help to keep your blood pressure under control, which equates to good things for the health of your heart.
Keeping Dementia at Bay
The older you get the higher your chance of developing dementia becomes. However, studies have shown that those who continue to walk an ample amount as they age can help to lower their risk of suffering from this condition. It is believed that this is due to how walking helps to preserve memory function and prevent brain shrinkage. It is certainly not a guarantee against keeping this condition at bay, but research has shown that walking can certainly be beneficial in the battle against dementia!
Walking to Lose Weight
Walking at any pace will contribute to the amount of calories that you are burning in a day, and therefore will help you to keep your weight under control. If you are actively trying to lose weight then deliberately walking for longer periods of time at an increased pace is a great idea. Making a conscious effort to include a period of moderate to high intensity walking in your schedule every day will help you to maintain a healthy body weight and shed those extra pounds.
A serious weight loss effort will have to be supported by a healthy eating regime, and it will also of course help if you include more intense forms of physical exercise as well. Running, cycling and resistance training are all great options. However, the potential to work towards weight loss by increasing the amount that you walk is great!
Hit Your Vitamin D Quota
One of the most common vitamin deficiencies is that of vitamin D - and this is often due to how little time we spend out in the sunshine! When you make the decision to get out into the fresh air for a walk every day, you are naturally going to increase the amount of sun exposure that you enjoy.
Vitamin D is essential for several functions in the body and is particularly useful for bone health and optimum immune system function. You can also get this all important vitamin from dietary sources and from taking supplements. However, aiming to get outside for a walk each day is a simple and natural way to protect your health in this way. It doesn't have to be a super sunny day for you to take in some vitamin D, so be sure not to cancel your walk just because the weather isn't fantastic!
Exercising for Better Health
As you can now see, walking is an amazing way to improve your health in numerous ways. Both your mental and physical wellbeing can experience the benefits of doing so, and it is something that you can do by yourself or with one or more other people. Also, If you make the effort to go for extended walks often then you will have to worry less about incorporating other types of physical activity into your routine.