Take a walk down the memory lane, and try and remember the days before you received your first vehicle. Try and remember all the long walks that you took, pondering on things while playfully displacing the pebbles in your path. Wouldn’t you want to relive those days – especially when the benefits of walking can help you work towards good health and happiness?
Once you decide to take the right step (pun intended) and start walking, there are several major benefits of walking that you can enjoy, as the exercise helps you burn calories and build bone density, while bringing down your risk of contracting diseases and promoting your mental well-being.
Walking doesn’t require expensive machinery, designated areas, or dependency on other people. All you need are good shoes and you’ll be ready to exercise the eco-friendly way!
The Six Key Benefits Of Walking
Benefits Of Walking #1: Increases Cardiovascular Fitness
Walking plays a crucial role in attaining cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, and such fitness can make your heart and lungs stronger.
A Nurse’s Health Study of 72,488 female nurses showed a 35% reduction in heart attacks and coronary diseases amongst those who walked for at least three hours a week than those who did not.
A study by the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2005 also found that walking for thirty minutes a day adds an average of 1.3 healthy years to a person’s life.
The reasons for this is because walking lowers your blood pressure, increases your HDL (good) cholesterol, and reduces your LDL (bad) cholesterol. For this reason, the risk of facing heart attacks and strokes becomes much lower.
Benefits Of Walking #2: Helps Lose Weight And Tone Muscles
Another chief benefit of walking is that it burns calories and tones the muscles in your body, when followed in the right way.
Taking a 45 minute walk at least 4 times a week can help trim out excess fat and strengthen the muscles of your legs.
Dr David Winter, the Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, Canada, says that walking is excellent for toning the calf, hamstring, abdominal, arm, thigh, and gluteal muscles.
Benefits Of Walking #3: Lowers The Risk Of Diabetes
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that can lead to kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and blindness. Walking helps the muscle cells in the body utilize the glucose content in the blood, preventing it from getting stored in the bloodstream. This lowers blood sugar levels and decreases your chance of suffering from diabetes.
17 million Americans suffer from diabetes and it is the seventh highest cause of death. Research in America has shown that physical activity like walking and a nutritious diet can bring down the risk of diabetes by 40% to 60%.
Benefits Of Walking #4: Increases Bone Density
Osteoporosis is a common disease that reduces the bone density in people, leading to a high risk of fractures, mainly due to weak and fragile bones.
Walking plays a beneficial role in preventing Osteoporosis as it strengthens the bones in your lower spine, legs, and hip and slows down the process of losing bone density.
Benefits Of Walking #5: Reduces The Risk And Effect Of Cancer
Walking helps lower the risk breast and colon cancer. Those with colon cancer can walk daily to increase their quality of life, reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and fight the disease to the fullest extent.
Studies by The International Agency for Research on Cancer show that one-fourth to one-third of cancers are caused due to insufficient exercise and excess body weight. Harvard Medical School found that the risk of breast cancer came down by 15% in women who walked for an hour a day.
Benefits Of Walking #6: Improves Brain Function
Walking increases and regulates proper blood flow, in turn ensuring that the brain gets enough blood and oxygen. This nourishes the brain and helps with the overall internal connectivity, leading to better cognitive function.
It also brings about a decline in diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, keeping the brain healthy.
Is Walking A Better Option Than Jogging?
The benefits of walking are for everyone to enjoy, including those who are overweight, ill, or aged. Jogging involves intense physical activity and more stamina, which might not be present across all age groups. Moreover, jogging as an activity has a much higher risk of injury associated with it.
Harvard Men’s Health Watch states that runners are 15 times more likely to hurt their joints or muscles than a walker.
Jogging can also lead to exhaustion, whereas walking boosts your morale and keeps you energetic throughout the day. Even if you don’t follow the activity purely for the benefits of walking, it’s still a nice lifestyle addition that will keep you active and sharp.