The health benefits of brisk walking go beyond staying fit. The biological effects of moderate exercise routines such as brisk walking also help to keep you free from all manner of illnesses.
It’s well documented that people who exercise are ill less often than people that do not do any form of exercise. Studies reveal that a lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic disease.
Eating healthily and indulging in an active lifestyle not only has physiological benefits but also improves your mental health. An insufficient amount of exercise can affect your mental health – but so can too much exercise.
Experts recommend a good balance of physical exercise for adults is 30-minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. The American Lung Association suggest moderate exercise includes brisk walking, recreational cycling, gardening and housework.
So why is exercise so beneficial to your overall health. The simple answer to that is oxygen.
How Does Brisk Walking Help Your Lungs?
Oxygen plays a huge part in keeping good physical health. Ancient healing and practices like meditation and yoga focus on breathing for this very reason.
There is an art and a science to breathing correctly. The ancient yogis of India and healers in the Far East have known that correct breathing is the principle for all activity, vitality and life.
“…in addition to the physical benefit derived from correct habits of breathing, man’s mental power, happiness, self-control, clear-sightedness, morals and even spiritual growth may be increased by an understanding of the science of breath.” ~ Yogi Ramacharaka, The Hindu Yogi Science of Breath
In today’s world, the positive effects of breathing correctly are largely ignored. Most people breathe too shallow. As a result, we do not get a sufficient amount of oxygen into the bloodstream.
Oxygen plays a central role in the development of white blood cells. White blood cells create antibodies that fight against harmful bacteria, viruses and infections.
Physical exercises that make you breathe deeply also makes your heart and lungs work harder. Like any other muscle in the body, the more often a vital organ is made to work, the stronger it gets.
The Importance of Oxygen in The Blood
Breathing is taken for granted, yet most people do not realise they do not breath well. Shallow breathing is an unhealthy habit that is compounded by sedentary work and the avoidance of an active lifestyle.
Researchers at Northwestern University found a correlation between shallow breathing, cognitive function, memory recall and fear processing. When you inhale, oxygen stimulates the amygdala, hippocampus and limbic system.
Deep breathing was found to improve focus, increase blood pressure and slow the heart rate down. This alleviates stress and helps to make you feel calmer – and less on edge.
In addition, calm states of mind reduce the amount of stress hormone cortisol flowing into your body. Cortisol has been linked with faster ageing, rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, anxiety, depression and mood swings.
When we inhale oxygen into the lungs, the air is transported to the heart and pumped into the bloodstream. When oxygen comes into contact with blood, a form of combustion takes place and carbonic acid gas is released.
Carbon acid is the hydrated form of carbon dioxide that regulates the pH of the blood. It helps to purify the blood by clearing away waste products and poisonous matter.
Purified blood is carried back to the heart laden with life-giving properties. If you’re not taking in sufficient quantities of air, your body doesn’t receive enough oxygen to perform the purification process effectively.
If the bloodstream is not sufficiently purified, the waste materials are continuously returned to the body which results in states of imperfect health.
Brisk Walking Improves Your Immune System
Brisk walking makes your muscles work harder and your body uses more oxygen. To compensate we breathe harder and deeper to cope with the extra demand for air.
The expansive intake of air helps white blood cells make antibodies, which specifically target foreign objects or germs like viruses. White blood cells are central to the effective functioning of the immune system.
If you are mindful of your breathing throughout the day – especially if your breathing is too shallow – brisk walking can help reprogram your subconscious to breathe deeper automatically.
A study published by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care underscores the importance of the immune system in:
- Fighting and removing disease-causing pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi
- Neutralising harmful substances from the body
- Regulating changes in the body that cause chronic diseases such as cancer
A strong immune system is needed to overcome the threat of the novel coronavirus. If you’re not already performing some form of moderate exercise, you should seriously consider starting a brisk walking program.
Start A Brisk Walking Program Today
Brisk walking is deemed to be a pace of around 3 to 3.5mph. It is recommended that you start at a steady, normal speed for you then pick up the pace to brisk walking. Keep this pace up for about five minutes then slow back down to a comfortable pace.
The change in pace helps to slow your heart rate and recover your breath. During your slowing down, you will breathing will become heavier whereby you will take more oxygen into the body.
We’ve already written about the dos and don’t of a brisk walking program so won’t go over the same ground here. Do check out our previous article though.
We also recommend you check out this article covering warm-up exercises to perform before engaging in brisk walking. It’s important to warm up before exploding into any form of exercise to avoid or reduce the risk of injury.
And don’t forget to download the sweatcoin app. The more steps you take, the more money you make. Every single step is clocked up by our built-in pedometer and converted into SWC digital tokens which you can exchange for discounted merchandise with hundreds of our partners.
Brisk walking can help keep you healthy, feeling great, and, with the sweatcoin app, save you money. Why not start your brisk walking program today.