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Walking Workouts: Health Benefits, How to Get Started, and How to Get Better
Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise. Various doctors and fitness experts promote walking because it is a manageable activity. People of all ages can perform it without specific training, and no special equipment or clothing is required to get started. Walking is a moderately intense aerobic exercise with ample health benefits.
Walking is an excellent method to maintain or improve the overall condition of your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adults exercise at least 150 minutes each week. A mere 30 minutes of walking each day at a tempo based on a personal pace is a great way to increase the heart fitness of the body, strengthen bones, and reduce body fat. Also, it greatly reduces the risk of suffering from serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes or certain cancers. In contrast to other exercises, walking in the park is free and doesn't require special equipment or even training.
Walking is not required to be strenuous or performed for prolonged periods to boost our body's general health. Walking is thought of as an activity that has low impact. It can be performed at any time of the day and done at any speed that best suits the person. Walking is also believed to be a suitable type of physical exercise for people who are overweight, old, or who have not previously exercised for a prolonged period.
It is also recommended that every person must follow the below points while walking. Walking can be of great health benefit if a person walks with great stride and a perfect posture. People should walk with their heads looking in a straight direction instead of looking down at the ground. The neck, shoulders, and back must be relaxed instead of keeping them stiff. The person should walk smoothly by rolling his foot from heel to toe. One should also keep his stomach muscles tight and his back in a straight posture. People should also swing their arms freely and bend their elbows.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults should go for a walk for around 150 minutes per week. However, there need to be guidelines from the CDC on how many steps one should take in a day. The goal should be a total of 10000 steps.
There exist many types of health benefits of walking. Some of these are described as follows −
Heart disease − Walking minimizes the risks of heart disease. It also increases the heart rate, strengthens the heart, and lowers blood pressure. Women in their post-menopausal phase who walk for just two to three kilometers a day can experience a decrease in their blood pressure in 24 weeks.
Decrease in loss of bone mass − It is shown that for people with osteoporosis, walking benefits extensively by exponentially decreasing the loss of bone mass.
Life expectancy − Research shows that people aged 50 to 60 can reduce their death expectancy by around 35% to 40% in the following eight years.
Better moods − Walking releases natural painkilling endorphins in the body. Endorphins are one of the mood benefits of exercise. A study showed that people walking more during the day have better moods.
Blood supply − Most joint cartilage in the body does not have a direct blood supply flow. It gets the required nutrition from the joint fluid that circulates whenever a person moves. Hence, walking increases movement and compression, which pressures the cartilage, supplying the nutrients and needed oxygen to their required area.
Higher energy levels − When walking, one’s breathing speed increases. It causes oxygen to flow more rapidly through the bloodstream, which helps the body rid itself of waste and increases energy levels and capacity to recover. Walking for 30 minutes burns around 200 calories. Over time, the calories from walking result in weight reduction.
How to get started with walking?
One who wishes to start walking exercises but needs to know how to begin can use a general plan which is discussed as follows. One should start following a 12-week walking schedule formulated by the national heart, lung, and blood institute. A person should aim to walk five days a week. One should generally take 5 minutes to warm up, then begin walking with a slow-paced walk, and then slow their pace towards the end of the walk to cool down. A person can start with a pace with which he is comfortable. After every week, one should add two more minutes to his total walking time. At the end of 12 weeks, one can easily add 30 to 60 minutes of walking time to his total time. One should be breathing heavily during the walk. If comfortable, one can add other exercise activities such as push-ups, squats, and planks to his daily exercise routine.
Every person should stick to walking exercise even if he does not have the means to do other forms of training since walking is the only form that does not require any equipment, specific area, or even time. Any person can do it at any time. There are many health benefits of walking exercise which are mentioned here in this article. One should maintain his motivation to exercise. One can choose to walk alone or walk with friends. People should also motivate their friends and family to start walking daily just as a simple exercise by educating them about the incredible health benefits of walking for about 30 minutes a day, five times a week. One should also focus on maintaining healthy foods and diets along with walking so that he does not suffer from fatigue and energy loss after exercising. For better effects, a person can further walk up and down a short hill or for a few minutes between intervals. So those who are not comfortable with other exercises can start walking and improve thier health in a couple of weeks.
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