Benefits of Walking Regularly
Let's begin by quizzing the mind!
Can you name one free activity of life that people take for granted?
Though there are many, I'll focus on walking. For some strange reasons, people seem not to appreciate the value of walking.
Though it's free, its potential health benefits are priceless. Yes, you can't quantify its benefits in monetary terms.
It's the simplest, quickest, and most exciting way to keep a healthy body and lifestyle. Regardless of age, social status, and fitness level, walking is just for everyone. You can never go wrong with walking. When done regularly, it holds the magic wand against chronic diseases.
These ailments include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Besides these benefits, walking promotes good sleep, critical thinking, and overall well-being. It's important to note that several doctors and universities have confirmed these benefits.
Therefore, they are facts and not fads. Also, other respected persons have added their voices. I'll share only three quotes from these intelligent people to save time.
First, Carrie Latet had this to say:
"Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise."
Then, Frank Ring added:
"Walking for health and fitness, the easiest way to get in shape and stay in shape."
Finally, Claudette Dudley summarized:
"I love walking because it clears your mind, enriches the soul, takes away stress, and opens up your eyes to a whole new world."
You've heard from the trio, so now we can take a step further. But before sharing the ten benefits of walking, here are a few safety measures:
- Always head up—avoid staring at the ground.
- Always relax your back, neck, and shoulders.
- Always allow your arms to swing freely.
- Always start slowly—moving your foot from heel to toe.
- Always use the prescribed places designed for pedestrians.
- Always use a reflective vest, especially in the mornings and evenings, to avoid accidents.
- Always wear cozy and loose athletic clothing.
- Always wear protective training shoes.
- Always wear sunscreens to prevent dust and sunburns.
- Always drink water before and after walking.
Now that you know the safety tips let's explore the ten potential benefits of walking. And not in any order, let's walk:
- Regular Walking Reduces Heart Diseases:
One of the leading causes of death is heart disease. About 18.2 million citizens aged 20 and above suffer from heart complications in America. Again, the American Heart Association study revealed that 19% of men and 26% of women are likely to die from heart attacks within a year. These are staggering and disturbing figures? Aren't they?
Yet, regular walking is a simple remedy to curb this health issue. Cultivating the habit of walking 30 minutes per day can be extremely helpful. Regular walking will increase heart rate, strengthen the heart, lower blood pressure, and eventually reduce the risk of heart attacks.
According to Joaquin U. Gonzales, Ph.D., associate professor in kinesiology at Texas Tech University, "People that are concerned about their risk for heart disease should be aware that increasing their daily walk by 1,000 steps can produce a 5 to 20% reduction in risk for cardiovascular illness and death."
- Regular Walking Increases Longevity:
No one wants to die—In fact, everyone wants to live longer and enjoy life to the fullest. However, this isn't the outcome for most people. To achieve this goal in life, then you should embrace walking.
A study among women in the United States shows that taking 4,400 steps per day decreases the risk of death. Another research also confirms that walking for 10 to 59 minutes weekly reduces the risk of death by 18%.
Again, other data reveal that the faster you stroll, the lower the death risk. This is possible because walking affects the heart, brain, lungs, bones, and muscles. So, walking prevents you from health-related issues, adding extra years to your life.
- Regular Walking Improves Your Mood:
Every individual desires a positive mood. Yet, most people find it hard to achieve it. Several factors can affect your mood negatively. Poor diet, lack of sleep, menstrual cycle, stress, and financial security are some examples.
Seriously, these factors can lead to mental health consequences: anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, negative mood, and antisocial behavior. Luckily, walking is one action you can use to fight these menaces.
In Norway, a study of 30,000 people revealed that an hour of exercise weekly could help prevent depression. Another research from the California State University, Long Beach, unveiled that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods.
Through walking, the body releases endorphins, natural painkillers which boost your moods.
- Regular Walking Improves Sleep:
No one can underrate the benefits of sleep. You'll fall sick less, maintain your weight, reduce stress, and lower your risk for serious health issues, among others. Thankfully, regular walking comes with these benefits. In addition, it will improve your energy level, providing longer and sound sleep.
According to recent research, people who walk either in the morning or evening have better quality sleep. More so, another study showed that adults who walked daily had significant quality and long sleep.
Also, a further study among postmenopausal women found those who walked often snooze better at night than those who were less active. Interestingly, napping is a sign of sound sleep.
- Regular Walking Burns Calories:
People, mostly women, are concerned about their body weights. Therefore, most of them spend immense sums of money on drugs and products promising to give them slender-looking bodies. But unfortunately, most of these products never deliver results, leaving them more worried.
Though most might not know, regular walking is the antidote to this challenge. For instance, a 30-minute walk burns about 200 calories. This is ideal for maintaining or losing weight. Now, your calorie reduction will depend on the following factors:
- Your walking pace
- The distance covered
- The terrain used
- Your current weight, etc.
Using a calorie calculator, you can estimate your actual calorie burn. You can find this calculator by searching on Google.
Finally, to Ariel Lasevoli, a personal trainer in New York City, "Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older."
- Regular Walking Boosts Immune System:
Your body has a natural way of fighting bacteria, viruses, and diseases. It performs this function through the immune system. Therefore, a weak immune system leads to poor defensive against the enemies of the body. In contrast, the opposite is also true.
Now, to boost your immune system, walking is one of the surest strategies. A study showed that regular walking improves the immune system. Thus, it increases the number of immune cells that fight against pathogens in the body.
So, active walkers have lower risks of infections. Again, this group of people spends less time in the hospitals if they are admitted. Through active walking, you have a protective guard against pathogens. So, you're shielded against pneumonia, cold, flu, and cough, among others.
- Regular Walking Enhances Creativity.
The brain works best when you are active. That's walking spark creativity—this was a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Further, other studies have confirmed that regular walking increases brain size in older adults.
Also, it improves cognitive performance and helps treat depression. A Stanford University study revealed walking improves creativity by 60%. When walking, the body produces adrenaline, a chemical responsible for mental awareness.
In line with walking, the body can circulate oxygen to the brain. As a result, you'll be able to think clearly and creatively. In trying to find new ideas, researchers compared when people were sitting and walking. Surprisingly, people did extremely well while walking outdoors.
Hence, they concluded that walking is a simple way to boost creativity and generate ideas.
- Regular Walking Decreases Diabetes Risk:
Diabetes is a worldwide health issue. Sadly, about 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. This translates into 34 million citizens. In the same light, about 88 million citizens have prediabetes. This translates into 1 in 3 Americans.
Therefore, the American Diabetes Association urges citizens to walk to reduce blood sugar levels. It's on record that every 1000 steps daily reduce blood pressure by 0.45 points. Hence, the more walking steps, the lower your blood pressure.
You can improve your BMI level by sticking to a regular walking plan. This will allow your body to use insulin better. And this will help boost your blood sugar score.
- Regular Walking Eases Joint Pain
What's the effect of walking on joint pains? Well, most people might think the pain will be the effect. However, the opposite is rather true. Walking doesn't worsen pain; instead, it offers relief. This is because most of your joint cartilages have no direct blood flow.
They get their blood and nutrients from physical activity. And luckily, walking is one such activity. Through walking, your joint muscles get lubricated and strengthened to support you. Therefore, you can move freely with much relief.
A study on walking unveiled that a 10-minute daily walk can decrease arthritis and disability pain among older adults. In 2019, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine studied 1,564 adults above 49 years old.
These people were suffering from lower-joint pains. The research found that those who walked each week for an hour were likely to be free from disability after four years. Then, another study concluded that walking is ideal and cheap for arthritis.
- Regular Walking Promotes Sexual Health:
Sex is a major headache for most people, especially men. Also, it's the chief contributing factor for cheating and divorces in several marriages. There are several ways to improve sexual health. However, the most natural, safe, simple, and free sexual booster is walking.
Yes, brisk walking will improve your stamina during the act of love-making. Walking boosts blood circulation to the brain and the reproductive organ. As a result, the erection becomes stronger and longer, improving love-making.
Irwin Goldstein, a renowned urologist, and his research team discovered that an inactive lifestyle increases a man's risk for developing impotence.
For example, a report published in Urology showed that men who actively walked for two miles daily reduced the risk of erectile dysfunction. It's important to note that two miles daily burn 200 calories per day.
My Final Remarks On the Benefits of Walking Regularly
Walking is one of nature's ways of keeping the body fit and healthy. However, it's surprising how most people discount its many benefits. The lack of conscious walking results from the astronomical ailments in the world.
Walking is a free and simple act that builds a healthy and prosperous nation. Also, it's an activity that respects everyone. It doesn't know the difference between the rich and poor, young and old, black and white, or even people's intellectual ability. Therefore, it's ideal for everyone.
A person who enjoys walking would be immune to several chronic diseases. This is because countless studies point to the health benefits of walking. Yes, these reports showed that regular walking lowers depression, anxiety, and stroke, among others.
Contrary to popular thinking, walking doesn't worsen pains; instead, it relieves them. Here, regular walking distributes blood and nutrients to your joints. This eases pain and balances your movement. Again, through walking, you'll burn many calories, leading to weight loss.
Quality sleep, creative thinking, positive mood, and living longer are other benefits of walking. Importantly, you'll enjoy these benefits without paying a cent. Your only investment is to slide into your athletic gear and hit the road, bearing in mind the safety precautions.
It would help to observe the safety tips before, during, and after walking. The right clothing, terrain, water, etc., should be part of your considerations. Start slowly, and then warm up gradually to prepare your body. Ideally, 30 minutes daily is an excellent target for a start.
Finally, I want you to live by one saying of Annie Taylor. She said: "Walking is cheap, fun, safe, and acceptable exercise." So please, kindly burn this wisdom into your brain.