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Benefits of Walking: Staying Fit made Easier

Benefits of Walking: Staying Fit made Easier

Who said it’s expensive to maintain a healthy body and mind? You don’t need affluent gym memberships and equipment to get healthy. Some of the basic everyday habits or physical activities can give you better benefits than going to the gym. Walking, running, jogging are some of the most commonly known forms of workout that are undoubtedly good for anyone and everyone.

A study has found that women who walked had less body fat compared to the ones who didn’t. Walking and jogging reduce the risk of getting blood clots as the calf acts as a venous pump, contracting and pumping blood from the legs and feet back to the heart, lowering the burden on the heart.

Apart from being considered an aerobics exercise, walking has several other health benefits. Haven’t you been advised by your doctor to walk as much as possible at some point in your life? That’s because it has innumerable advantages for heart, legs, and overall body functioning. It is a boon to your health and can be done anytime during the day at zero cost. It helps in reducing symptoms of various chronic diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, anxiety, etc.

Benefits of Walking

Here are some of the benefits of walking that will change your life for good:

Improves circulation

Walking helps in reducing heart disease, improves your heart rate, strengthens heart health, and brings down the symptoms of blood pressure. Women in their post-menopausal phase can reduce their blood pressure by almost 11 points in around 24 weeks by this simple exercise. Whereas women who walk for 30 minutes per day tend to lower their risk of heart stroke by 20 per cent, and if they increase their speed, the number can go up to 40 per cent as per a research conducted by Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Improves heart health

Walking definitely ups your heart health. Many studies have shown the relation between walking and improved cardiovascular health. They have stated that the activity can reduce cardiovascular diseases by 31 per cent. Medical experts recommend that every adult should indulge in a moderate-intensity workout – probably brisk walking or jogging for a minimum of 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week.

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Walking eases joint pain

Walking can give good protection to your joints, knees, and hips. It helps in lubricating and strengthening your muscles which support the joints. It may also offer an advantage to people suffering from arthritis and reduce their pain. Walking 8-9 kms per week is known to be a great way to prevent arthritis problem.

Lightens your mood

One of the psychological benefits of walking is that it releases painkilling and feel-good endorphins. A study conducted showed that the more people walked, the better their moods were. The activity helps lower or control your negative mood, anxiety, depression, and reduces symptoms of social withdrawal. It also boosts self-confidence.

Improves your breathing

When you are walking or jogging, your breathing rate rises. This causes oxygen to travel at a faster speed through the bloodstream, facilitating the elimination of waste products, improving energy levels, and enhancing the ability to heal.

Walking boosts immune function

Falling sick, especially in the cold and flu season, is a common phenomenon. Walking can protect you from these germs and virus. A study was conducted with a certain number of men and women who exercised and walked. The study revealed that people who walked for at least 20 minutes a day for minimum 5 days a week had 40 per cent fewer sick days than the ones who exercised just once a week or lesser than that. And even when they fell sick, it was for a short duration with milder symptoms.

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Enjoy a longer life

Studies have shown that people who work out regularly, especially in their 50’s and 60’s, are 40 per cent less likely to die over the next 7-8 years compared to the non-walking folks.

Improves sleep

A research conducted showed that women between 50-70 years of age who went for morning walks were able to overcome insomnia and sleep related disorders than ones who didn’t walk or exercise.

Regulates blood sugar

Walking for some time after a meal can aid in lowering your blood sugar by enriching the blood circulation process. Taking a 15-minute walk 3 times a day – after breakfast, lunch, and dinner improves blood sugar levels more than going for a 45-minute walk at any other time during the day. There’s more strong research and evidence required to prove this right. But a small walk after every meal never harms. It helps in effective and quick digestion.

Walking increases lung capacity

It can improve and increase your lung capacity. When you are walking, you are breathing in more oxygen as compared to when you are not walking (stationary position). This increased oxygen intake and breathing out of carbon dioxide increases your lung capacity resulting in improved stamina and workout performance.

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Helps in curbing stress

This exercise can bring down your stress levels as it enhances your circulation. Improved circulation provides more nutrients and oxygen to the cells. It energises the nervous system receptors and lowers the production of stress hormones. A study found that walking when combined with resting and bath therapy helps in decreasing stress.

Walking can help in toning your legs

The exercise can make your leg muscles strong. To strengthen your muscles, even more, walking in a hilly area or on a treadmill with an incline would help. You can sometimes enjoy other activities like jogging and cycling which are also useful in toning and toughening your leg muscles.

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Enhances your creative thinking

Walking can make your thinking and mind pretty clear, helping you think more creatively. An experiment was conducted to compare people who were asked to think of new ideas while they were either walking or sitting. The study showed results that participants performed better while they were walking, especially while walking outdoors. It showed that walking in an open space allows a free flow of ideas and it’s a quick way to increase a person’s creative thinking capability. So, the next time you are stuck with a problem at work and need a creative solution, take them out, let them breathe in some fresh air, and get the ideas rolling.

Walking is recommended for every age group and fitness level. You can get a pedometer or other fitness tracker that helps you keep a tab on your everyday step count or health level. Try to go for walks early in the morning to avoid pollution, traffic, and too many people around. It gives a good kickstart to your day. Put on your favourite music if that helps you in increasing your speed and endurance. Consult your doctor before you decide on your walking speed and routine.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Walking for good health/https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/walking-for-good-health/Accessed on 15/01/2020

What Are the Benefits of Walking?/https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-walking/Accessed on 15/01/2020

12 Health Benefits Of Walking Daily – Tips To Follow/https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/best-benefits-of-walking/#gref/Accessed on 15/01/2020

5 surprising benefits of walking/https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking/Accessed on 15/01/2020

Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health/https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261/Accessed on 15/01/2020

12 Benefits of Walking/https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/physical-activity/walking/12-benefits-of-walking/Accessed on 15/01/2020

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Written by Nikita Updated 03/09/2021
Fact Checked by Hello Swasthya Medical Panel