Fortunately, mother-nature given us all the tools for free to maintain a natural, healthy existence. Most of the highly recommended exercises don’t demand us to go to gymnasium or spend our fortune on expensive machines. One of this healthiest universal exercise is walking.
Walking can happen either by force or by choice. When it comes by force it may befits us for a while until we come out of the specific pressure, like lack of transportation or physicians recommendations for a specific health issues. But when we walk by choice it is a different story, it becomes a part of our life style, giving us a room to digest what we have in our mind and stomach, helps us get connected with nature and people.
Researchers say emerging evidences suggests simple physical movement like walking can restore our health naturally. It shows it’s better to incorporate movement throughout our day instead of being actively sedentary.
“Actively sedentary, is a new category of people who are fit for one hour but sitting around the rest of the day," researchers highlight it’s not possible to offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.”
In fact, walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running, according to a new study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. All three conditions are risk factors for heart disease and stroke — and you can do something about them.
Researchers analyzed 33,060 runners in the National Runners’ Health Study and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study. They found that the same energy used for moderate- intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary hear disease over the study’s six years.
The more people walked or ran each week, the more their health benefits increased.
“The findings don’t surprise me at all,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science in Columbia. “The findings are consistent with the American Heart Association's recommendations for physical activity in adults that we need 30 minutes of physical activity per day, at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week to derive benefits.”
These are few walking befits for our physical and mental health and vitality:
1. Walking strengthens your heart
Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.
2. Walking lowers disease risk
A regular walking habit slashes the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 60 percent, and you’re 20 percent less likely to develop cancer of the colon, breast or womb with an active hobby such as walking.
3. Walking helps you lose weight
You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 3.2kmph for 30 minutes. Up your speed to 4.8kmph and it’s 99 calories, while 6.4kmph is 150 calories . Work that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time.
4. Walking prevents dementia
Older people who walk six miles or more per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as the years pass. Since dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80, we reckon that’s a pretty great idea.
5. Walking tones up legs, bums and tums
Give definition to calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your glutes (bum muscles) with a good, regular walk. Add hill walking into the mix and it’s even more effective. Pay attention to your posture and you’ll also tone your abs and waist.
6. Walking boosts vitamin D
We all need to get outside more. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient, affecting important things like bone health and our immune systems. Walking is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors while getting your vitamin D fix.
7. Walking gives you energy
You’ll get more done with more energy, and a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. Try walking on your lunch break to achieve more in the afternoon.
8. Walking makes you happy
It’s true – exercise boosts your mood. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety. So for positive mental health, walking’s an absolute must.