ONE of the most powerful ways to lose weight, stay healthy, and live longer is so shockingly simple, even a toddler can do it. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other, that’s right, it’s walking!
Ideally we should be walking for at least 30 minutes a day, and whether you decide to pull on your trainers and walk to work, pair up with a friend, or join a hiking club, walking can do everything from lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of chronic diseases to making your brain sharper and your heart happier.
Improve your mood
Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility especially when you’re going for a stroll through some greenery or soaking in a bit of sunlight.
When walking outside, plan a route that includes hills, alternate between speed walking and a slower pace, and challenge yourself to walk the same routes on different days to see if you can beat your previous times. Always challenge yourself to get at least 10,000 steps a day, even if it means taking laps around your living room at night to hit your goal. Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older.
Reduce your risk of chronic disease
The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that regular walking lowered blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20 to 40%. One of the most cited studies on walking and health, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly. For disease prevention, longer walks are key: include one hour-long walk at least once or twice a week.
A regular walking routine can greatly improve your bowel movements. One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilises core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system.
When you become a regular walker, you will have established a regular routine—and when you have a routine, you are more likely to continue with the activity and take on new healthy behaviours.
Whether you’re feeling stuck at work or you’ve been searching for a solution to a tricky problem, research shows it’s a good idea to get moving: According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity.
Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters.
Alleviate joint pain
Contrary to what you might think, pounding pavement can help improve your range of motion and mobility because walking increases blood flow to tense areas and helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints. In fact, research shows that walking for at least 10 minutes a day—or about an hour every week—can stave off disability and arthritis pain in older adults. An April 2019 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine followed 1,564 adults older than 49 with lower-body joint pain. Participants were asked to walk for an hour each week. Those who didn’t meet that goal reported that they were walking too slowly and had issues performing their morning routine, while participants who stuck with their walking routine had better mobility.
Boost your immunity
High-intensity interval walk training can help improve immune function in older adults with rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disease that affects the joints.
A recent study from Chronic Respiratory Disease also shows that walking may help patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) reduce their morbidity and mortality risk. Patients with COPD tend to be overweight or obese because they’re unable to exercise for longer periods of time and may find it hard to breathe during intense movements. But walking can help improve symptoms and lower their risk for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, among other things.
You’ll sleep better at night
If you work out regularly, you know that you’ll sleep better at night. That’s because sleep naturally boosts the effects of melatonin, the sleep hormone. A 2019 study from Sleep found that postmenopausal women who do light to moderate intensity physical activity sleep better at night than those who are sedentary. Walking also helps reduce pain and stress, which can cause sleep disturbances.
So, what are you waiting for? Get those boots on and get out and WALK!
Source and for more information: Prevention.com