Taking long walks is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training.
Physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. Walking is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of the day and can be performed at your own pace. You can get out and walk without worrying about the risks associated with some more vigorous forms of exercise. Walking is also a great form of physical, social and emotional activity for people.
In this article, we are going to review just a few of the benefits you can derive from taking long walks. You carry your own body weight when you walk. This is known as weight bearing exercise and some of the benefits are stipulated below.
Walking Reduces Stress
If you are having an especially stressful day, go for a long walk. Outdoor long walk is a great way to calm and clear your mind. However, being choosy about your environment may result in a more Zen-like experience.
Walking Boosts Creativity
Many companies and organizations are embracing walking as a method of generating creative idea. From walking down to hall meetings, to quick walk and talk sessions between coworker, more individuals are benefitting from creative insight and conversation that come from thinking on foot. Walking, even on treadmill indoors, makes individuals twice as likely to produce creative responses compared to people who were sitting.
Helps in Building Physical Fitness
If it’s too difficult to walk for 30 minutes at one time, do regular small bouts (10 minutes) three times per day and gradually build up to longer sessions. However, if your goal is to lose weight, you will need to do physical activity for longer than 30 minutes each day. You can still achieve this by starting with smaller bouts of activity throughout the day and increasing these as your fitness improve. Physical activity built into a daily lifestyle plan is also one of the most effective ways to assist with weight loss and keep weight off once its lost.
Walking Increases Self-Esteem
Regular walking can strengthen your heart and bones, reduce anxiety and fatigue, keep your body in shape, increase energy and endorphins, and therefore leave you feeling pretty good about yourself. Walking is a humble and patient invitation to move. Movement often brings us out of feeling stuck, isolated and heavy in mind and in heart. It brings us into places of forward motion, the creation of new ideas, and renewed sense of hope of what is just around the corner.
Important Safety Precautions
Walking is generally a safe way to exercise, but look out for unexpected hazards. Suggestions include.
- See your doctor for medical checkup before starting a new fitness program, particularly if you are aged over 40 years, overweight or haven’t exercised in a long time.
- Choose walks that suit your age and fitness level. Warm up and cool down with a slow gentle walk to ease in and out of your exercise session.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear to avoid blisters and shin splints.
- Look out for hazards in alpine or coastal areas such as cliff edges or large waves.
- Drink plenty of fluids before and after you walk. If you are taking a long walk, take water with you.
Walking for 30minutes a day or more on most days of the week is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Walking with others can turn exercise into an enjoyable social occasion.