Surprising Health Benefits of Walking
Walking is something that we do every day. But the thing is most people don’t know exactly how important it is for our health. Especially for people who don’t exercise or have any physical activity in their lives, walking is one of the main reasons why people have stable health.
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By walking more and using it as a form of planned physical activity, we can greatly benefit our mental and physical health as well as having fun with it.
How Much Should We Walk in a Day?
A rule of measure that most people use is that the average person should take 10,000 steps of walking in a day. This is in relation to having a healthy body and mind. However, we all know that 10,000 can be very challenging and is not achievable for all age groups, health conditions, and genders.
Although 10,000 is obtainable, a publication from the ‘International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity’ states that 7000 steps are already sufficient and anything below 5000 is considered sedentary.
The Health Benefits of Walking
- Weight Management – Walking is one of the main reasons why most people’s weight doesn’t fluctuate even when they don’t have any form of physical activity. Whether you’re focusing on quantity or quality, walking will help you burn calories.
- Better Joint and Bone Health – Walking helps to loosen joints in your body and help you feel nimble and flexible. Walking activated all joints, muscle and bones in your body and is known to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
- Improved Mental Health – Getting fresh air and a bit of sunlight will only boost the number of endorphins your body produces while walking. This will help you to feel good and put you in a positive state of mind.
- Improved Endurance – if you have low endurance, then you are likely to get injured over time. Walking is the perfect launchpad to moving onto more challenging physical activities. Overtime your endurance will improve and so you can walk more as well as making it as intense as you like.
- Decreases the Chances of Heart Disease – walking is known to benefit heart health greatly. One of the greatest forms of cardio exercise, walking can lower the risks of high blood pressure, hypertension as well as decreasing the risk of stroke.
- Reduced Stiffness – if you have a stiff neck, sore back or body parts that ache when you move them, it’s most likely due to inactivity. Even without stretching, walking will activate all your body parts and get them moving. In turn, you’ll notice your entire body becoming less stiff and more flexible.
Useful Ways to Incorporate More Walking in Your Day
- Walk to and from work or school – Instead of driving or taking public transport, walk to work or school instead. This lets you go outside, get fresh air and loosen up your body and get rid of stiffness when you wake up from bed or after getting off a sedentary position.
- Walk during lunch breaks – Walking during lunch breaks is a perfect time to get away from the workplace, unwind and shake off all the strains and stiffness that have been accumulated while being sedentary at work.
- Make a schedule – especially if you don’t have sporting or physical activity commitments after school or on weekends. Set a routine time for you to go for walks. This puts pressure on you to be consistent.
- Track your progress with an app – Many phone apps, as well as electronic gadgets, are available for you to use and monitor your progress. They can account for all your steps, how many calories you burn and other health facts (depending on the app or product you use).
Keep in Mind
With the scorching sun beaming down in the UAE harder than most other parts of the world, outdoor walks can be very intimidating at times. The humidity and pollution don’t do us any favours either.
This is why it’s important to wear sufficient activewear that covers the body but still lets you breathe as well as wearing sunscreen, so you avoid sun damage. Alternatively, almost all gyms should have treadmills and other cardio machines that you can take full advantage of as opposed to walking outside.
Although walking is a great way to stay in shape and boost your mood, there are many other forms of physical activity you can try. Running, lifting weights, swimming, ball sports and other types of physical activity will keep things interesting and don’t stop you from getting bored with walking.
Changing things up every once in a while is also important as it makes you challenge yourself and activates other parts of your body that walking can. Walking is excellent for someone who does not do different types of physical activity.
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