Everything you need to live well

Six Fantastic Health Benefits of Walking Daily

By Violet Johnson 15 March 2019   |   6:40 pm

Exercise takes a lot of determination and self-discipline. Many people take up exercising for different reasons- for body-building, weight loss. But as much as people think hitting the gym is the only way to ‘’keep fit’’, it will surprise this category of people that mere walking some distance(s) is just as good as doing the aforementioned.

As simple as walking is, it is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health; just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. A study shows it can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart diseases, type-2 diabetes, and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and requires no special equipment like a treadmill or training.

New research has also shown that women who dashed every week for 210 minutes or more had a lower risk of stroke than those who did not—even lower than women who did high-intensity workouts for lower periods of time.

Another amazing benefit of walking is it boosts immune function. How? Well, Harvard Medical School’s research into 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day and at least 5 days a week had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they got sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season.

Walking can also ease joint pain. Those who are battling with arthritis-related pain should well know that walking reduces it. Plus, walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place, according to Harvard researchers.

Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.

Bottom line is, walking is one exercise you should utilise. If it’s too difficult to walk for 30 minutes at one time, try it for 10 minutes first, three times per day and build up to longer sessions. However, if your goal is to lose weight, you will need to do physical activity for longer than 30 minutes each day. You can still achieve this by starting with smaller rounds of activity throughout the day and increasing these as your fitness improves.

A quick suggestion to get used to walking is to build this routine into a daily lifestyle plan; for instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator (for at least part of the way), get off public transport one stop earlier and walk the remaining distance to work or home, walk (instead of driving) to that supermarket a street or two from your house.

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FitnessViolet Johnson
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