Fitness experts are always creating new ways to exercise and improve your health. If you’re into sports you probably can’t wait to try something new.
However, fitness fanatics everywhere were surprised when walking was announced as a beneficial exercise. Numerous studies have found that walking for just 30 minutes a day has multiple health benefits including improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced risk of stroke, and less risk of hypertension.
To be honest, the benefits of walking is not new. The Greek physician Hippocrates said that walking is the best medicine. Apart from the health benefits, there are more reasons to walk regularly:
Manage Your Weight
Walking may only be a moderate form of exercise but among its many advantages is weight management. The ideal time to go for a stroll is after a meal.
However, you can even lose weight. For maximum fat loss, walk at a brisk pace three times a week for 30 minutes. Fitness experts also found that if you alternate your speed between fast and normal pace, you burn even more fat.
When you walk fast, the deep abdominal fat tissue begins to melt first and speeds up metabolism in a completely natural way. Not only that but walking fast puts less pressure on the knee and ankle joints so is less likely to have long term effects than other fitness activities such as running.
Walking alone will not help you manage weight successfully, however. Any form of exercise should be accompanied by a balanced diet and a healthy diet in order to lose weight.
Walking Makes Your Body Strong
Walking is healthy even when you move at a slow pace because it improves the condition of muscles and joints and strengthens flexibility and endurance.
If you set yourself a target to walking 7,500 steps a day and engage in a walking fitness program, you will build body strength that is equivalent to some exercises you might ordinarily perform in the gym, especially if you add in some uphill climbs.
To feel the most benefit you need to work your cardiovascular system. Focus on how fast you walk, how long or how far you walk, and with what intensity. Everything will affect the activity of your body.
In addition, walking does not feel as though you are putting in as much effort as other physical activities that tire you out sooner. Nor does it require special preparations – although a warm-up and comfortable walking shoes are advisable.
Nature is a Form of Therapy
Walking in nature, far from the chaos of everyday life and distracting technology, allows people to (re)connect with themselves and nature in a way that brings them peace and a sense of well-being.
Studies have shown that being in nature enhances mood, renews your energy, stimulates mental activity, promotes gratitude and mindfulness.
Studies have also shown that people who walked in nature regularly reported less anger and more positive emotions. Direct contact with the sounds of nature, its colours, fragrances, and its beauty has a healing effect. Instead of looking at the computer, observing different textures and various colours like fallen leaves are relaxation for the eyes and mind.
Forest air is a balm for the respiratory tract and it can measurably increase the number of active immune cells in the body. And living in a world with viruses like Covid-19, you want your immune system to be strong as possible.
It Improves Your Mood
“If you are in a bad mood – go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood – go for another walk.” – Hippocrates
Walking has been shown to improve the symptoms of depression in patients with severe depressive disorders. So imagine how beneficial it could be for you if you’re feeling low or exhausted.
Walk 30 minutes a day and you will awaken positive feelings because the exercise stimulates neurochemicals and the body begins to secrete hormones of happiness (serotonin and endorphins) that greatly reduce stress and anxiety making the walk pleasant and relaxing.
Extra tip: Choose a fun destination and compete with friends or colleagues to see who walks the greater distance each. The more steps you do, the more sweatcoins you earn.