With the gamification of and elevated views on walking, people have been striving to reach 10,000 steps a day. Fitness trackers, cellphones, and smartwatches have made walking a social phenomenon, a shared activity, and even a competition among peers. This is a welcome development because researchers found that even a few minutes of walking after a meal can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and a myriad of other chronic illnesses, including coronary heart disease and digestive issues. Walking is one of those forms of physical activity that protects your health and nourishes your body in various ways.
The benefits of walking
It strengthens the hear
Physical exercise can improve overall cardiovascular health by impacting cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Walking 10,000 steps a day has been proven to increase the heart’s capacity to pump blood. This heart function, also called stroke volume, signals aerobic capacity, which in turn predicts mortality and disease risk. A few minutes of walking each day is an excellent way to improve your heart health through your daily routine.
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It improves brain function
Aerobic exercises such as walking spurs new cell growth in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that regulates emotion and memory. For the elderly, it’s possible to decelerate cognitive decline through moderate daily exercise such as brisk walking. Aerobic exercises can increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain and, in turn, improves sleep and decreases stress. A few minutes of walking alone in the morning can also be a meditative experience that can help you focus better as you do your tasks throughout the day.
It helps reduce body fat
Walking can help burn unnecessary calories and stave off fats stored in the muscle or liver. Aerobic exercises are essential for weight control because it allows you to burn calories. For instance, 30 minutes of brisk walking makes you burn 150 calories. The longer your pace and the greater the distance you cover, the more calories you’ll burn. Doing so can help you normalize your body mass index, which indicates your predisposition to diseases and early mortality.
How to transform your regular walks into workouts
Include a dynamic warm-up
Mobility helps you secure a full range of motion, and you can achieve full mobility through dynamic movements before you begin walking. Preparing your body for aerobic activity through a dynamic warm-up raises your body temperature and increases blood flow to your muscles. Proper warm-up reduces your risk of injury and muscle soreness and can help you improve your stride speed and intensity.
Focus on structured walks
When you are walking for exercise, make sure to cross-train with uphill intervals and arm activity. Focus on getting your heart pumping and your metabolism going instead of treating walking as a mere gateway to completing your daily activity. You can also consider adding high potassium foods such as bananas to your workout snack to fuel your walking routine. A structured walk should involve your being more intentional in introducing new challenges and expending more energy than a regular walk.
There are a plethora of gadgets and applications on the market today that can help you increase the effectiveness of your walk and track your results. Some tools track the speed, duration, and route of your walk, while others can remind you to increase your intensity as you go along. Some online programs even offer to give you rewards for walking or winning step challenges against other people all over the world.
Walking is one form of workout worth considering as part of your regular physical activity. The rewards of daily walks for your health and fitness are immense, and you can maximize them through the tips we just mentioned. Always remember to stay in tune with your body and appreciate the process so you can safely and enjoyably incorporate walking into your daily routine.