“Walking is man’s best medicine,” Hippocrates once said. It’s the best exercise for health. Walking is a great way to maintain and improve your overall health. This simple exercise takes care of your fitness and health without difficulty. A 30 minutes walk daily can strengthen the bones, increase cardiovascular fitness, boost muscle power, and reduce excess body fat.
“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world,” Paul White said. Walking can reduce the risk of some cancers, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It can be done at any time of day and is low impact compared to running.
Benefits of walking: Things that happen to the body when you walk
Walking is the best possible exercise. Let’s look at some benefits of walking to the body, and things that happen to your body when you walk.
Walking helps in relieving pain from any stiff part of your body. How? It warms up the muscles and allows them to move easily. Walking elevates your tissue temperature, and this ensures that muscles can shorten and lengthen for easy movements.
People who walk daily increase the level of neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps the central nervous system to function better. Walking does not need expensive exercise equipment and can be carried out by everyone, including sick and older people.
For those suffering from pain, five minutes into their walk releases neurotransmitters that reduce their pain. Stress and anxiety are relieved when you take a regular brisk walk. Walking also has a calming effect on your state of mind.
Delays the onset of Varicose Veins
Walking helps in delaying the onset of varicose veins. As we get older, many of us suffer from the risk of increase varicose veins. However, a walking routine prevents varicose veins from having a field day on your body.
The venous system has a part of the circulatory system, called the ‘second heart,’ and helps circulate blood back to the heart and lungs. This section includes the valves in the lower part of the body, veins, and muscles.
Walking can strengthen the second heart and ease the blood flow in the leg, preventing the formation of varicose veins. Those suffering from varicose veins can practice walking to ease their restlessness and swelling in the legs.
Boosts your mood
While some people go for dark chocolate or a glass of wine to improve their mood, walking offers you the same perk with a zero-calorie strategy. When you walk as a form of exercise, it decreases hostility and anger and alters the state of mind to boost calmness.
According to a study by Harvard Health, walking for about an hour can reduce the risk of major depression. A stroll through the forest or park can help reduce anxiety and depression spikes. You can walk in a group to feel connected and interact more if you are feeling down. People who practice walking stay happier and calmer in crisis.
Increases your energy levels
Walking is an effective energy boost, as it increases the flow of oxygen through your body. While walking, the body improves the circulation of blood containing nutrients and oxygen for fuel. This fuel is released to the legs, muscles, and brain, making them feel energized.
Studies show that walking can increase the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein found in our brain. BDNF can help memorize, learn, and think, amongst other functionalities that the brain carries out. An increase in the BDNF level can improve your thought processing and overall cognition.
Walking also increases the level of hormone levels that boost energy levels in the body such as norepinephrine, cortisol and epinephrine.
8 Benefits of walking to the body
Improves sleep quality – better night of sleep
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Before you hit the bed, you should go for a brisk walk because it boosts the sleep hormone melatonin. Going for a short walk can improve your sleep pattern at night.
When you take a brisk walk some hours to sleeping hours, it relieves you of stress and helps you sleep fast. Talking a walk at other times during the day is also great for your overall health. However, you should try as much as possible to avoid taking a walk some minutes to your bedtime so that you won’t be wide awake when you should be getting heavy-eyed. Similarly, an early morning walk can improve your natural circadian rhythm too.
Improves your heart health
Walk for a healthy heart. The risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases is reduced when you take a daily walk, especially for older people. The faster and longer you walk, the better effect it has in protecting the heart. Make out time in your tight schedule and walk.
Some people use their lunch break for brisk walking to rejuvenate their stressed bodies. People who walk enough have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and they stay fit and stronger.
Boosts your immune system
You can protect yourself from getting the flu, a cold, or other immune issues when you walk regularly. When you walk, it increases the number of white blood cells in your blood, fighting diseases and infections. The production of more white blood cells boosts the immune system.
Walking for about five minutes can significantly increase your white blood cell count. People who regularly walk hardly have longer sick days. When they fall ill, they recover faster than when they do not walk as a form of exercise.
Burns calories – weight loss
Hitting the gym or following a strict diet program can overwhelm many people. We have seen people abandon their fitness regime because they couldn’t follow up. However, walking is not stressful and works effectively in reducing weight.
Walking can burn calories like running, cycling, or swimming does, depending on how fast the person walks and how long. People who are obese or overweight are advised to walk daily to burn some calories. Ultimately, walking can help you control your weight and maintain a healthy weight.
Walking tips: How to turn your normal walking into a workout routine
- Before you start walking, make sure you warm up.
- When walking ensure that your head is up, and you are looking forward. Don’t look at the ground.
- Make sure your shoulders, neck and back are not rigidly upright, they should be relaxed.
- Swing your arms freely with a gently bend in your elbows. You can pump with your arms.
- Ensure your back is straight and do not bow or bend forward or backward.
- Walk smoothly, rolling your foot from heel to toe.
- When you want to end your walk, ensure that you walk slowly for about five minutes so that your muscles can cool down.
- Don’t forget to stretch your muscles too.
- Remember to warm comfy clothes (or anything appropriate for the weather), shoes with proper arch support and thick flexible soles.
- When walking avoid roads or paths with potholes, or cracked sidewalks.
How long or how far should you walk?
Well, the recommended level of physical activity for a week is 150 minutes, and you can spread it out during a week, giving you about 30-minutes per day, five days a week. Walking increases your physical activity because it’s a form of aerobic exercise. Thus, you can plan to walk for about 30 minutes or more per day.
If you don’t have much time to do that, you can break it down. Try out short physical activity sessions, walk around your office, take the staircase, walk to your meetings or lunch location instead of taking transportation. The small amounts of physical activities can add up to your goal, providing you with the health benefits you deserve.
However, if you are a beginner or haven’t exercised or walked in a while, you can start slowly. You can walk for 5 minutes per day and increase your walking goals as time goes by until you can do up to 30 minutes or more per day.
Don’t forget to keep a record of your walking activity. There are several walking apps used in tracking daily walking steps. When you also use these trackers to calculate your walking distance and steps per day.
“Walking for health and fitness, the easiest way to get in shape and stay in shape.” – Frank Ring
“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.” – Steven Wright
Hey Joyfreshers, what happens to your body when you walk everyday? How has walking helped you? Let’s discuss below!