Walking is a miracle workout that can do wonders not only for our bodies but also our souls. Getting outdoors in fresh air is the best way to clear one’s mind and bid adieu to mental fatigue. It can also lift your mood and burn your extra calories effectively if done regularly. Further, this miracle workout comes free of cost helping you save on expensive gym memberships. Here are some proven health benefits of walking.
Weight loss and obesity
Experts suggest that walking briskly for 30 minutes can help one burn 150 to 200 calories. 10,000 steps per day is what is recommended by the medical experts. Walking not only aids in weight loss, but also keeps lifestyle related diseases at bay. There are several pedometers are available in the market that can help you keep track of the distance covered or calories burnt. However, to achieve weight your weight loss goal, you should walk at a brisk pace and not just stroll. A study conducted in 2014 by the University of Utah found that in women, every minute of brisk walking throughout the day could lower the risk of obesity by 5 percent.
Improves heart health
Medical experts prescribe walking for all age groups but especially for those above 45 years of age. Walking for older age groups can be a more relaxed way of working out, and further it can even prevent knee or ankle injuries. Also, according to a recent study conducted by the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, the risk of cardiovascular diseases can be reduced by walking regularly. Walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and mental stress.
It is believed by most doctors that the main cause of cancer is a sedentary lifestyle. As per a 2012 study conducted by the Harvard University, the risk of breast and uterine cancer can be cut down by 19 percent by walking one to three hours a week and by 54 percent by walking three to five hours a week. According to the scientists, walking everyday aids in weight loss thereby reducing the risk of cancer and walking is also known to be helpful for people undergoing cancer treatment since it is known to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
Reduces the risk of Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, walking is a great way to curb diabetes. Medical experts recommend atleast 5,000 steps per day with atleast 3,000 of those steps involving brisk walk – to help manage Type 2 diabetes. Also, walking every day can help control the blood sugar levels which in turn can help one prevent Type 2 diabetes.
According to a study published in the medical journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, walking helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Dementia is a neurological condition that leads to gradual loss of memory and cognitive functions thereby making one unable to perform everyday activities. Walking can help cut the risk of Dementia since it improves blood circulation and also builds memory.
Reduces stress eating
Experts believe that stress is usually triggered by an underlying emotional or psychological problem or is caused due to work-related or personal issues. This results in cravings for junk food causing stress eating. This can be avoided by walking since walking facilitates the release of chemicals called endorphins which interact with the receptors in your brain in order to reduce the perception of pain and thereby curbs stress eating.
Keeps depression at bay
Walking increases blood flow to the brain that enhances emotional well-being and reduces build up of stress in the body. Research reveals that walking helps increase the serotonin levels in the brain, which is highly useful in curbing depression symptoms. Walking and any other form of exercise helps promote good sleep which is required for reducing anxiety, depression and stress. Researchers at Duke University in a study say that “a brisk 30-minute walk may be just as effective in relieving the symptoms of major depression as the standard treatment of anti-depressant medications.”
Regulates blood pressure
We can keep our blood pressure related problems at bay through regular walking. Researchers from Arizona State University have discovered that a 10-minute walk every day is an effective way to lower your blood pressure. Infact, American Heart Association prescribes brisk walking for people suffering from hypertension.
Helps replenish Vitamin D
Vitamin D also called “the sunshine vitamin” is very essential for our bodies since it not only increases bone strength but also prevents diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Type I diabetes. Walking in the mornings can be a great way to keep our bodies fit and also obtain Vitamin D naturally from sun rays.
Boosts immune function
The health of our body’s immune system is vital in order to combat the daily infections and diseases. Walking at least 30 minutes per day can help bolster the activities of the immune cells, namely, the B-cells, T-cells, and the natural killer cells. It helps release the white blood cells (WBCs) at a faster rate, vital in effective healing.
Increases lung capacity
According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, regular 30-minute brisk walks can do wonders for our lung capacity. When we walk, we tend to inhale more oxygen, which tends to increase our lung capacity and stamina. According to experts, a medium-paced 60-minute walk can attain this goal. With increased lung capacity, breathing becomes easier, and lungs will stay healthier.