Walking: The Underrated Exercise That Can Improve Your Health
When we think of exercise, we often picture ourselves sweating it out in a gym or running miles on a treadmill. However, there is a simple and effective exercise that is often overlooked – walking. Walking is a low-impact exercise that has numerous benefits for our physical and mental health. This article will highlight five reasons why walking is often overlooked as a form of exercise but is actually incredibly beneficial for our health.
Improve cardiovascular health
Walking can be a great way to improve our cardiovascular health. When we walk, our heart rate increases, and we start to breathe more deeply. This helps to strengthen our hearts and lungs, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, walking for 30 minutes a day can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, two key factors that contribute to heart disease.
Help with weight management
Walking can also be an effective way to manage our weight. While walking may not burn as many calories as running or high-intensity workouts, it still burns calories and can help with weight loss or weight maintenance. Additionally, walking can help to build muscle, which can increase our metabolism and help us burn more calories even when we’re not exercising.
Improve mental health
In addition to physical health benefits, walking can also have a positive impact on our mental health. Walking has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve mood. Walking in nature, such as in a park or on a hiking trail, can be especially beneficial for our mental health. Being in nature has been shown to reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being.
Improve bone health
Walking is a weight-bearing exercise, which means it can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
Walking is a low-risk exercise:
Unlike other high-impact exercises, walking is low-risk and suitable for most people, including those with chronic conditions such as arthritis or back pain. It can also be done anywhere, anytime, without the need for expensive equipment or gym memberships.
The duration and number of steps recommended for walking can vary depending on various factors such as age, fitness level, and health goals. However, here are some general guidelines that can help you get started:
Duration of walking: Experts suggest that adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, which can be achieved by walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. However, even shorter bouts of walking, such as 10 minutes at a time, can be beneficial for your health.
The number of steps: Walking 10,000 steps a day is often recommended as a goal for maintaining good health. However, this number is not based on scientific evidence and may not be suitable for everyone. It’s more important to focus on being physically active throughout the day, which can include walking, standing, and other forms of movement.
Intensity: The intensity of walking is also important for reaping health benefits. Moderate-intensity walking, where you can still talk but not sing, is recommended for most adults. However, if you are looking to challenge yourself, you can try brisk walking or interval walking, where you alternate between periods of fast and slow walking.
Walking is a simple and accessible exercise that has numerous benefits for our physical and mental health. By incorporating walking into our daily routine, we can improve our cardiovascular health, manage our weight, and boost our mood. So, the next time you’re looking for an exercise to improve your health, consider going for a walk. Your body and mind will thank you.