Walk your way to good health
Walking is one of the safest and most effective forms of exercise to lose weight
Life has become a rat race today thanks to the multiple demands of home and career. We have no time for ourselves as we get caught up in household chores, work and an endless list of responsibilities. This leaves many of us with no time or inclination to exercise. However, as we all know, exercise, apart from a healthy diet, is very important for health and physical fitness. Obesity and lack of exercise can lead to diabetes, heart problems, cholesterol, blood pressure and so much more. For many people, joining a gym or aerobics class is not something they are thrilled about. It could be because it is too time consuming, expensive, far from home, etc.
Well, there is one exercise that can solve all these problems for you – walking. Walking is the simplest exercise possible. It is safe for any age group since it is low impact and all it requires is a place to walk and a pair of good walking shoes. Walking is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. And unlike jogging or aerobics, it puts very little strain on the joints and muscles.
- Brisk walking is the best form of aerobic exercise for those who have problems with jogging or other high-impact exercises.
- Three hours of brisk walking a week reduces the risk of heart disease by 35 to 40%. Five hours of brisk walking a week reduces the risk by 50%. Walking strengthens your heart, improves circulation and lowers your blood pressure.
- If you walk for 6 hours a week you decrease your chance of heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, stroke and diabetes.
- As a weight-bearing exercise, walking can stop some of the bone loss of osteoporosis and may slow down arthritis. Research reveals that postmenopausal women who walk approximately one mile each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk shorter distances, and walking is also effective in slowing the rate of bone loss from the legs.
- Walking at a moderate speed for 30-60 minutes a day burns stored fat, builds muscle and speeds up your metabolism. Weight loss, when combined with a healthy diet, can help prevent diabetes. Walking 150 minutes per week and losing just 7% of your body weight can reduce your risk of diabetes by 58%
- By increasing your metabolic rate, you are burning fat throughout the day, even while you are sleeping. So, you are burning more calories during the day.
- One hour of walking can burn up to 400 calories (depending on the pace).
- Walking is also helpful in reducing stress. Urban living does stress all of us out. A walk in a park can be refreshing. Or even along the beach. A good walk makes you happy and studies have shown that walking is as good as antidepressants for mild or moderate depression.
- Walking is also supposedly helpful in preventing brain decline. It also lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older people.