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The Amazing Health Benefits Of Walking You Never Knew

Walking is an underrated exercise, that you can follow to get fit. You see, physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated; something as simple as a brisk walk every day can help you live a healthier, fitter life. Not only that, but walking can also help clear your cluttered head and help calm you down.

Plus, it’s free, easy to do, and it’s immensely beneficial for your health. Walking is an aerobic exercise, which is low-impact, and helps you shed the extra weight easily. Walking helps tone your legs, lowers the risk of blood clots, among other benefits. Your calf acts as a venous pump, contracting and pumping blood from the feet and legs back to the heart, thereby lowering the stress on the heart. Walking, especially brisk walking, is good for you in so many ways.

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Walking quickens your heart beat, which in turn helps circulate more blood and oxygen to your muscles and other organs, including the brain. It has been noted that half an hour of brisk walking at a moderate speed can help you burn anywhere between 150 to 200 calories.

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Proper walking technique

Yes, you should walk as much as you can to keep yourself fit and healthy. But how you walk should also be an important consideration. All you have to do are slight adjustments to your posture, and you should be fine.

Ideally, here’s how you should look while walking:

  • You’re looking up ahead, with your head straight, and not looking down at the ground.
  • Your back, shoulders, and neck are relaxed, not upright in a stiff manner.
  • You’re swinging your arms freely, with the natural bend in your elbows. If you want to take this up a notch, try pumping your arms a bit.
  • Your abdominal muscles are slightly tightened, while your back is straight; not arched back or hunched forward.
  • You’re walking smoothly, with your foot going from heel to toe, heel to toe.

Plan your routine

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Before you set out for a walk, keep these things in mind:

a. The right gear: You need a proper pair of shoes that give your arch the support it needs, a firm heel, and thick flexible soles that cushion your feet and absorb shock. You need to wear comfortable clothes, plus gear that is weather-appropriate.

b. The right course: If you run on a treadmill, no worries at all. However, if you go outdoors, avoid uneven surfaces, cracked sidewalks, and potholes.

c. The warm up: Warming up before you actually start to brisk walk is very important. Walk slowly for 5-10 minutes to warm up your muscles, that helps prepare your body for exercise.

d. The cool down: When you finish your walk, again, walk slowly for 5-10 minutes to help cool down your muscles.

e. The stretch: Once you’ve cooled down, stretch your muscles gently. You can stretch at the start too, but do it only after you warm up.

Health benefits of walking

Let’s take a look at some more of the numerous health benefits of walking, that you might not have known before now:

1. Walking strengthens your heart.

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If you walk regularly, it helps lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s a great cardio exercise, which helps lower the levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), while increasing the levels of HDL cholesterol (the good kind).

2. Walking strengthens your bones.

People with osteoporosis lose bone mass, which can be halted by walking regularly. At least 30 minutes of brisk walking every day has been known to lower the risk of hop fractures by about 40 percent.

3. Walking improves blood circulation.

Walking helps keep heart disease at bay, brings up the heart rate, lowers the blood pressure, thereby strengthening your heart. Independent studies conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the University of Tennessee, found that blood pressure in post-menopausal women who walked just 1-2 miles a day was lowered by nearly 11 points in just 6 months. Also, women who walked half an hour a day lowered their risk of stroke by 20 percent – by 40 percent when the increased the pace, according to scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

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4. Walking reduces disease risk in general.

Regular walking habit is known to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes by about 60 percent. Also, if you walk regularly, you are 20 percent less likely to develop cancer of the breast, colon, or womb.

5. Walking improves sleep.

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Older women, in the age group of 50 – 75, found relief from insomnia when they took hour-long morning walks, found a study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The same couldn’t be said of women who didn’t walk.

6. Walking helps you lose weight.

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Half an hour of walking, at 2mph, will help you burn 75 calories. If you double that speed, you will burn double the amount of calories. Make an effort to walk at least half an hour every day, and you’ll shed those extra pounds in no time at all, because over time, calories burned can lead to pounds dropped.

7. Walking supports your joints.

Joint cartilage gets its nutrition from joint fluid that circulates as we move, because they don’t have direct blood supply. Activities like walking, help ‘squish’ the cartilage, thereby bringing oxygen and other nutrients to these areas. So if you don’t get up off your bum and walk, these joints are deprived of essential fluid, which only makes way for their rapid deterioration.

8. Walking keeps dementia at bay.

A study performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, of 6000 women aged 65 and older, found that age-related memory decline was significantly lower in women who walked more than those who didn’t. Dementia is known to affect one in 14 people over the age of 65, and one in six over age 80. So it’s about time you got off your bum and started walking, no?

9. Walking reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

It has been found that older men who walked more than a quarter of a mile each day had half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who walked less than that.

10. Walking helps tone up your legs, glutes, and tummy.

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Your calves, quads, and hamstrings get a workout when you walk regularly, while also giving a lift to your glutes. Your posture needs to be right when you walk, to help tone up your waist and abs too.

11. Walking improves your breath.

When you walk briskly, your breathing elevates, causing oxygen to travel faster through your bloodstream, which helps eliminate waste products, improves your energy level, and your ability to heal.

12. Walking strengthens muscles.

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While walking sure does tone your leg and abdominal muscles, it even helps tone your arm muscles if you pump them while walking. This manner of walking increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints and muscles, thus helping in lessening the pain from arthritis.

13. Walking elevates your mood.

Regular walking is known to release natural painkilling endorphins in the bloodstream, which help lighten your mood. It’s one of the emotional benefits of regular exercise.

14. Walking boosts your immunity.

A study done at the Appalachian State University in North Carolina suggests that a moderately-paced walk for about 30-45 minutes every day can help increase the number of immune system cells in your body, and that over a period of time, it can have a really remarkable effect on your body’s ability to fight off disease. Apparently, a regular walk of 20 minutes every day could lower the risk of getting sick by almost 43 percent.

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15. Walking curbs stress eating.

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Stress eating is, more often than not, a symptom of an emotional or psychological problem. So walking at least 10,000 steps a day, combined with meditation and getting good sleep, helps curb stress eating. Since walking releases endorphins into your bloodstream, it helps reduce the levels of stress hormone, cortisol, in your body, thus helping curb stress eating.

These are all the numerous health benefits of walking that you probably didn’t know. Now that you do, get up off your perch on the couch, and get walking! You won’t regret it!

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Article Name
The Amazing Health Benefits Of Walking You Never Knew
Did you know that walking strengthens your bones? Know more health benefits of walking right here!
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg