Walking is not just a way of moving from one place to another. Walking is an exercise that is accessible and economical, and can contribute to your physical and mental health.
Walking, as part of an exercise plan, can help to improve the function of your cardiac and respiratory systems. At the same time, you will burn calories and reduce stress levels. Walking also stimulates the production and release of endorphins, which are hormones associated with a sense of pleasure and well-being.
Some people believe that in order to exercise, we need to participate in high-impact sports/activities. We’ve got some good news for you today! Walking is a low-impact, minimum-injury-risk exercise that can contribute to improving your overall health and help you control your weight.
Walking is an exercise that can be easily implemented, even if you’ve had a previous injury, or suffer from pain in your knees as a result of being overweight, or other reasons. It is important that you walk at your own pace, without overexerting yourself. At the same time, you should try to achieve an intensity at which you feel your heart rate increase to a safe, but still beneficial level.
Among the many benefits of walking are the following:
- You burn calories, which can help you maintain or lose weight.
- Contributes to reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Helps you build and maintain good muscular tone and functionality.
- Contributes to reducing triglyceride levels and increasing blood HDL or “good” cholesterol, which is very important for the prevention of heart disease.
- Facilitates different steps in the digestive process, and therefore helps to keep bowel function regular.
- Stimulates bone mineralization, and therefore plays an important role in the prevention of osteoporosis.
It is important that you take into account the following considerations in order to avoid injuries, and take the most advantage of this exercise:
- Keep a straight posture while you walk.
- Take short, fast steps instead of long ones.
- Move your arms as you walk, from your waist to the height of your chest, alternately. Then, not only will your legs get exercise, your arms will as well.
- Try to walk between five and seven days per week, for 30 minutes each session (begin with 10 minutes and slowly increase the duration and intensity of the walk).
- Finally, remember it is always important for you to consult with your physician before starting any exercise plan.
Now that you know the benefits of walking, start moving! Our bodies were designed to walk!
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