Walking is great exercise that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. It is also cheap and easy to do because it requires very little equipment and can be done alone or with a group. As with any other exercise regimen, you should consult your healthcare provider before starting a walking program but chances are your doctor will recommend that you walk at least 30 minutes five days a week. When you begin walking, you are likely to see many benefits from this mild form of exercise, both physically and mentally. Learn how you can benefit from walking.
When you walk on a regular basis, your heart has to work to keep up with the increased exercise. This increase in your heart rate makes it stronger and helps to control your blood pressure. As your heart strengthens and blood pressure decreases, your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) lowers and your HDL (good cholesterol) cholesterol increases. All of these factors combine to decrease your risk for stroke and heart disease.
Walking regularly is a very easy way to burn calories and lose weight. Of course, if you also increase your caloric intake, you will not lose weight as quickly. Regular exercise will also increase your rate of metabolism so you will begin to lose weight even when you are sleeping or resting. Eat the same amount each day and begin walking for 30 minutes each day and you will begin to lose weight over time.
As you walk, you will increase the muscle tone in your legs, buttocks and abdomen. Walking on hills is a great way to get the benefits of tighter buttock muscles. You can tone you abs and waistline when keep a proper posture during walking.
Walking can make you happy by increasing the release of endorphins in the body. These substances stimulate the pleasure center of the body and work to decrease stress. Walking in groups can give you the added benefit of meeting and socializing with people. All of these contribute to make you happier.
As you walk, your circulation increases and the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain and other organs increases. This extra injection of oxygen helps decrease tension as it makes you feel more alert. Thus, brisk walking can keep you energized.
If you are at risk for diabetes, try walking as a preventative measure. The resistance of your body to insulin can be lowered and your body can become more sensitive to insulin by taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes five days a week.
Exercises like jogging and aerobics are not for everyone. If you have joint or bone problems, extreme exercise can make them worse. On the other hand, walking can help decrease your risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones) and improve your balance and decrease your chance of falling. Again, walking 5 days a week for 30 minutes is all you need to strengthen your bones and joints.
Research indicates that women who are active run a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Studies also show that women who walk after receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer have a 40-45% greater chance of survival.
If you have trouble sleeping, take a brisk walk before dinner. This activity will help you enjoy your dinner more and will give you plenty of time to wind down before bedtime. Heavy exercise (including fast walking) within four hours of bed may actually disrupt your sleep so be sure to allow enough time between your walk and bed.
As you begin a walking regimen, you will get more benefit from the exercise if you walk using good posture. Keep your head up and in line with your spine. Look forward with your neck and shoulders relaxed but straight. As you walk, be sure to bend your elbows and swing your arms as you walk. Keep your abdominal muscles taut and use those muscles to hold your back straight.
The trick to getting the most benefit from walking is to stay motivated and make walking part of your daily habits. You can do this by walking to work, using stairs instead of escalators, walking with groups of people on your lunch break, and walking with family or friends after work. Wear a pedometer to see if you can reach higher goals each day.