Are you a busy individual who wants to live healthier and look better? If so, ditch the lousy excuses and start a walking program immediately! Walking isn’t just for getting around – it can also be a highly effective way to keep you in good shape! Here are some excellent reasons why you should walk, NOT run, for weight loss and better health.
Walking is the Better Choice
Inactivity leads to obesity and poor health. Get up and walk around your neighborhood, church parking lot, school track, shopping mall, or favorite walking path. Simply stand up and put one foot in front of the other. Routine, vigorous walking can eventually create a substantial improvement in your quality of life. Here’s a list of key benefits of walking:
- You do not need to join a gym.
- No special equipment is needed.
- Gives you more energy and vigor.
- Lowers your blood pressure.
- Improves your mood and self-esteem.
- Helps reduce anxiety and depression.
- Wards off Type 2 diabetes.
- Protects against falling and bone fractures.
- Reduces the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
- Helps you sleep better and have a positive outlook.
- Provides relief from joint swelling and pain from arthritis.
- Supports strong bones, lean muscle tissue, and joint health.
- Minimizes stress and thereby decreases the risk of heart disease.
- Decreases your bad cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
- Raises your good cholesterol – high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
- Burns calories for weight loss and weight management.
- Lowers the risk malignant tumors such as breast cancer and colon cancer.
Why You Should WALK and NOT Run
Thomas Jefferson declared walking to be the best exercise. Research in the American Heart Association’s Journal of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology compared data from two studies and observed that for the same amount of energy expended, walkers received greater weight loss and health benefits than runners. Walking reduced the risk of heart disease by 9.3%, while running reduced it by 4.5%. Walking had a more potent effect on heart disease risk factors from a caloric perspective.
Here are some benefits of walking over running:
- Walking results in fewer injuries than running.
- Walkers can usually walk in whatever apparel they are wearing with a quick change into a pair of comfortable shoes.
- Walkers impact the ground at 1.5 times their body weight with each step; runners impact the ground at 3 times their body weight.
- Walking works your bones and muscles against gravity, inhibiting bone loss and prolonged maladies.
- Walking stimulates your brain and enhances your attention and working memory, particularly if you do a nature walk.
- Walkers perspire and sweat less than runners do, making it possible for them to exercise without requiring a shower immediately after.
- Walkers, unlike runners, can decrease their pace to enjoy their surroundings, check out an unusual sight, or grab a snack from a shop or fruit tree.
- Walking is enjoyable at all ages; high-impact exercise is typically more challenging in later years.
Start Walking for Better Health
Set up your walking program to get approximately 30 minutes of brisk walking on most, if not all, days of the week. For maximum effectiveness, set a goal to walk at a moderate pace (3 to 6 miles per hour) for two miles on 5 or 6 days of the week. These recommendations will help you start your walking routine and sustain it with minimal aches and discomforts.
- Select walking shoes that support your arch and slightly elevate your heel with thick soles that can absorb shock.
- Should you decide to purchase exercise gear, choose moisture-wicking fabrics that draw sweat and perspiration off of the skin.
- Choose apparel that prevents inner-thigh rubbing.
- Set walking goals and establish milestones for rewards; monitor your progress with a walking journal.
- Walk almost anywhere and at any time. If you’re having inclement weather, walk somewhere indoors such as a mall.
- In lieu of stretching cold muscles, warm up by walking slowly for five minutes, and then begin your brisk walking. Slow down your last five minutes in order to cool down. Be sure to do gentle stretches after your cool down.
- Start slowly and gradually increase your steps to avoid sore muscles and joints. Begin to walk farther and for longer periods of time as you develop strength and endurance.
- Start out by walking 5 or 10 minutes a day, working up to at least 30 minutes for all-inclusive cardiovascular benefits. Feel free to divide your 30 minute walk into shorter sessions if you need to.
- If you already do 30 minutes of moderate, physical activity each day, start doing more. Extend your workout time by using the stairs instead of the elevator; get off the bus a few stops early; park your car at the farthest end of the parking lot.
- Do a strength building exercise routine at least twice a week. Consider using light hand weights to help build your upper body.
- Infuse power walking into your program; utilize it as your main workout activity, or use it along with another sequence to mix things up a bit.
- Make walking fun; bring a friend or pet along with you and choose a safe location that you enjoy.
- Join a walking club. Recruit teammates or family members for an after-dinner walk – be certain they are able to walk at your pace and distance.
- Stay cool and drink plenty of water; wear sunscreen when appropriate.
Keep in mind that a brisk walk is a great low-impact workout technique to obtain and sustain great health. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to exercise, and it’s a smart way to keep your weight under control. Scientific studies continue to prove that walking is more beneficial to the body overall than running.
Disclaimer: The text and links to content furnished herein are produced for informational purposes only. They’re not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance upon any information provided in this article is at your own discretion.
Featured photo credit: Cabarita Ocean Health Retreat via cabaritaoceanhealthretreat.com.au