Sourced with thanks from 247wallst.com
How often have you heard this – “Walking is good for you “? Countless times we are sure. But have you got down to bringing a good walk into your daily routine? Many of you likely to answer in the negative. This article below will hopefully many more of you to walk regularly. The author has put together a number of reasons why walking is good for you. Given that the number of reasons are many the article has been broken up in two. Here is Part 1 of 2. Team RetyrSmart
Build walking into your daily routine. It’s really good for you (Part 1)
The rule of thumb is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. Breaking the numbers down, that’s 30 minutes five days a week. This sounds like a small price to pay if you want to significantly improve both your physical and mental health. It’s low-impact, simple, natural, accessible, and has many health benefits.
- Stronger bones
As we age, our bones become weaker, but walking regularly can strengthen them. As we walk, we increase stress on bones — and some of the cells building the bones, called osteoblasts, respond to stress. Low-impact walking can also help prevent bone density loss.
- Increased muscle strength
Aging can reduce muscle strength. Walking can build muscle mass and tone muscles, particularly the muscles in your back and your legs.
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- Less body fat
Interested in burning fat without going to the gym? Then try walking. While losing weight largely depends on your nutrition, exercise is also important. But the exercise doesn’t have to leave you exhausted. It can be as easy as walking.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry found that walking between 50 and 70 minutes just three days a week for 12 weeks resulted in an average body fat loss of 1.5% — or 1.1 inches around the waist — in obese women. Of course, picking up the pace is likely to result in even more calories burnt.
- Better heart health
You can literally walk your way to a stronger heart. Walking is an aerobic activity, and as such, it increases heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in greater efficiency of the heart. Analysis of several studies concluded that walking reduced the risk of developing heart disease by 31%. This was true for both men and women who walked as little as 5.5 miles a week at a slow pace of 2 mph.
- Better mood
Research has shown that more walking has a palliative effect on one’s mood. In a study on walking’s positive effects published in the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health in 2016, three different experiments demonstrated that even casual walking promoted positive effect. Walking “can override the effects of other emotionally relevant events such as boredom and dread,” according to the study. By walking outside, you also are exposed to sunlight, which can mitigate seasonal affective disorder.
- Better balance and coordination
As we age, our balance and coordination can decline. This occurs largely because of certain medical conditions such as arthritis and heart disease, unresolved vision problems, the effects of medications, as well as a lack of flexibility. Walking is a safe exercise that helps build up lower-body strength, which is key to good balance and coordination. Doctors suggest older people do a tightrope walk to improve balance. Tightrope walk is walking a straight line and slowly placing one foot directly in front of the other while keeping your head straight.
- Better circulation
It’s important, at any age, to maintain healthy blood flow. When the blood circulation is poor, muscles and tissues in the body don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients from the blood to function properly, leading to general fatigue and pain. Walking helps improve blood flow because, as you walk, you take in more oxygen, which is then moved to your muscles. This gets your heart rate up, which improves cardiovascular health, which is, of course, crucial for proper circulation.
- Helps fight and prevent depression
The physical benefits of exercising have been demonstrated by dozens of studies. More research is focusing on how aerobic activity benefits mental health. Moderate-intensity exercises, including walking, have also been shown to prevent depression, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Exercise is also very helpful in decreasing depressive symptoms. Some data suggest that the focus should actually be on how often a person engages in physical activity rather than on how intense the workout is.
- Increases alertness
Walking improves mental acuity because the aerobic exercise pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also releases chemicals such as adrenaline that boost alertness. Several studies indicate that 20 to 30 minutes of exercise before performing a mental task sharpens reaction time and improves decision making. A Stanford University study found that “walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.”
- Curb stress eating
Stress eating, also known as emotional eating, is consuming food in response to feeling certain emotions. It’s probably the reason many weight loss goals fail. Stress releases hormones that make you reach out for comfort foods. Walking may be able to take care of the problem. Just 15 minutes of brisk walking has been shown to curb cravings for sugary snacks in some overweight people.
- Improves sleep
You’ll sleep better after you’ve walked. That’s because walking naturally releases levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. A sleep study published in Oxford Academic last month found that postmenopausal women who walked or did some kind of exercise before they went to bed had better sleep quality than sedentary women.
- Reduces stress
Walking lowers stress by increasing blood flow and bringing oxygen and nutrients to muscles and reduce tension. Walking helps reduce stress hormone production. A University of Missouri study found that higher-intensity walking reduces stress more than lower-intensity walking. The researchers suggest people add a higher-intensity walking interval to their routine as a more effective way to lower stress.
- Builds stamina
More frequent walking builds stamina and endurance. Improved stamina means you will burn off calories more efficiently, and that will help keep off the weight. A person who walks frequently and weighs 150 pounds can burn off 100 calories per mile through long distance walking.
- Increases longevity
To live longer, try a low-impact, low-cost, and accessible physical activity such as walking. Getting between three and five times the recommended amount of exercise, which translates to walking about an hour a day, may contribute to living longer, according to researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.
Regular walking has also been linked to lower mortality rates among older physically capable men as well as among adults with diabetes.
- Tones body
Walking can strengthen and shape your legs, as well as tone your calves, quads, hamstrings, and lift your glutes. To improve body tone further, try walking on a hill or inclining your treadmill. Walking speed and greater resistance will put more stress on the hamstrings and glutes.