What are the Health Benefits of Walking Every day?
Let me begin by describing who can benefit from walking. Of course, we all know the answer to that question is, … everyone!
Now that we have established that fact, let me say that this post is primarily directed to the inactive and the more mature in years. If you are a hard-core sporting enthusiast or if you already have an exercise program, walking may be too slow for you. You walk mostly for locomotion and that’s fine. Good for you. You know the benefits that physical exercise produce, and you probably do not need very much convincing.
If you do not exercise, if you are over 40 years of age, or if you are recovering from a lower-body injury, walking can benefit you, a lot.
Why should you walk for exercise?
A study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, published in the Harvard Medical Gazette shows that brisk walking, even once a week, can reduce the risk of early death, in the older woman, by 70%.
This study also found that light activities such as housework or window shopping did not affect longevity, and produced no appreciable health benefits.
What are the benefits of walking every day?
A simple brisk walk every day can help you achieve a much healthier life. Regular brisk walking, using a proper walking technique, can maintain a healthy body weight. It can prevent or manage type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It can improve your mood, your balance, and your coordination. It will also strengthen your muscles and bones.
Walking is such an easy exercise that we do not fully appreciate its value. Walking for your health and overall well being is the easiest and least expensive form of exercise known.
It requires no special equipment, it can be done indoors and outdoors and you are ready to go as we speak. It doesn’t get any easier and the benefits are numerous.
I want to stress the benefits that are acquired from walking every day or at least 5 to 6 days per week. What is very important here is to develop a routine. Regular walking will aid in developing discipline and persistence.
Where can you walk?
You can walk almost anywhere you want, except down the middle of the highway or across private property. There are no excuses for not being able to afford this activity.
The poor and the rich can walk the same number of miles or kilometers on any given day in all public spaces. Your financial status cannot be used as an excuse, either.
When can you walk?
The best time for you to walk will depend a lot on your day to day routine. What is your work, school, or family schedule?
When you walk isn’t as important as establishing a walking routine.
It is best that you walk at the same time every day to build a routine.
Remember that these benefits are for you and they don’t cost anything.
How Should you Walk?
Like any activity or sport, there is a good, better, and best way to do it.
As you improve your technique, speed up your pace and swing your arms more. Be aware of your breathing and of your surroundings. Learn to enjoy your experience and you will return home much more relaxed and refreshed.
First begin slowly. If you have not exercised since your high school days, you may have to learn to walk all over again. Sounds a bit silly, but it’s actually true.
Not too long ago, I was walking with a friend that had not exercised for years. I finally managed to get this individual, out of the house, and we were both surprised that a slow gentle 5 minutes of walking on a level sidewalk was producing severe discomfort. I should also mention that this person was a heavy smoker and overweight, not a very good situation.
Can you imagine this person walking up a steep hill, or having to climb a long set of stairs?
Age and a sedentary lifestyle often lead to an increase in body weight and a very unhealthy circumstance.
Walking is an easy way to combat this.
Why should you walk?
Let’s look at the benefits of walking.
- An easy way to control your weight
- No Special Equipment Required
- Improves Your Posture
- Mental Benefits
- Sleep Better at Night
- Social Benefits
- Learn to Enjoy Nature
Walking can also prevent or manage high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. It also improves your balance, strengthens your body and it can improve your mental attitude and boost your spirit.
People who walk every day are also less depressed and better able to ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What do you Need to go Walking?
Once you manage to get yourself out and walking, you will have to take this more seriously. In the beginning, I said that you can simply get up off the couch, put your shoes on, and go.
While this is true, I will only recommend it for the first few days.
Here are 4 simple things you must do
1. Footwear and Clothing. Choose your walking shoes or boots very carefully. This is, in my opinion, the most important requirement. Your footwear should have good arch support, a firm heel, and thick, flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb the shock of your feet coming down on the walking surface.
You will need comfortable clothing that is appropriate for the weather you are walking in. You will need an umbrella or raingear. No more excuses, like it’s raining, it’s too cold and windy.
If you can only walk in the dark, I recommend reflective clothing to improve your visibility to others.
Always be aware of bicycles quickly and silently coming up on you.
In the beginning, it’s always best to walk during daylight hours.
2. Where are you walking? Plan your route well at first. Stay on the level, comfortable walkways.
Avoid wet, slippery paths and heavy traffic areas. Remember, we want this to be enjoyable.
You can also begin walking indoors, at local recreation centers, if this is more suitable for you.
3. Warm-up. Do a few simple warm-up exercises, before your walk. Stretch your arms, stretch your legs, touch your toes, and twist your trunk. Your an athlete now and you will have to warm-up like one.
4. Cooldown. This is the opposite of your warm-up. Once you are done walking do more of these stretches.
Reward yourself with a warm bath or shower.
I dare you to tell me that you don’t feel better already!
Comments, Questions, and Suggestions
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about the benefits of walking, you can Contact Me with more details. I would love to hear about your walking experiences and how you use walking to help you stay healthy.