Walking is an excellent and sustainable way to maintain or improve overall health. The benefits of exercise on cardiovascular health, bone density, body fat, and muscular strength and endurance can be realized in as little as 30 minutes each day. It can also make you less likely to get heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer. To improve health, physical activity does not need to be strenuous or performed for extended periods. A study done in 2007 on inactive women found that even a small amount of exercise (about 75 minutes per week) made them much fitter than the women who didn’t exercise.
Walking is a great low-impact workout because it can be done whenever, wherever, and at whatever pace works best for you. You can go for a stroll without worrying about the potential dangers associated with more strenuous forms of exercise. People who are overweight, elderly, or haven’t exercised in a long time can also greatly benefit from walking. OnlyMyHealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Yogini Patil, BAMS & Wellness Coach at LivLong, to know how brisk walking and other low intensity exercises are beneficial for overall health.
Benefits of walking for health
Walking for recreation and fitness is not limited to solitary strolls through residential neighborhoods. There are a lot of people, places, and ways to make walking a fun and social part of your daily life. When you walk, your body weight is carried. This is known as resistance training. Included among the benefits are:
- Enhanced cardiovascular and respiratory fitness
- Decreased likelihood of heart disease and stroke
- Better control over conditions like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, muscle, and joint pain, and stiffness.
- Strengthened bones and better equilibrium
- Increased muscular stamina and toughness
- Reduced-fat percentage
On most days of the week, walk for at least 30 minutes at a brisk pace to reap the health benefits. Walking and other moderate activities aren’t too dangerous for your health, but if you have a health problem, you should talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise plan. If it is difficult to walk for 30 minutes at once, walk for 10 minutes three times per day and gradually increase the duration of your walks.
Ways to make walking part of your routine
If you want to lose weight, you need to exercise for more than 30 minutes every day. You can still do this by starting with shorter periods of activity throughout the day and making them longer as your fitness level improves. One of the best ways to help you lose weight and keep it off is to make physical activity a part of your daily routine. Here are a few ideas for making walking part of your routine:
- Take the stairs instead of the lift (for at least part of the way).
- Walk or take the train to the extra stop to get where you need to go.
- Don’t take the car; instead, stroll over to the corner store.
- Exercise the dog (or the dog of a neighbor).
- Make walking a regular part of your schedule.
A pedometer counts the number of steps an individual takes. You can use it to track your daily activity and compare it to previous days or recommended amounts. This could encourage you to move more. It is recommended that you take at least 10,000 steps every day to improve your health.
While walking quickly burns more kilocalories per hour than walking slowly, this does not mean you should walk until you are out of breath. Instead, pace yourself so you can continue to speak. This simple guideline ensures that you walk safely within your target heart rate, resulting in health benefits. Our bodies tend to get used to physical activity, so as your fitness level goes up, keep upping the intensity. Before starting a new fitness program, you should get a physical from your doctor. This is especially important if you are over 40, overweight, or haven’t worked out in a long time.