Do you know why our ancestors were in good shape most of their lives? A major reason behind their fitness was walking. The benefits of walking are many, but advancement in technology (escalators/conveyor belts), automobile advancements, modernization and an overall lack of time has forced us to neglect this simple act.
Walking used to be a part of daily routine, but now its merely a mode of losing calories and exercising. But is losing calories the only benefit of walking? Definitely not, there are several important benefits of walking. Here is the list.
Benefits of Walking:-
1] Releases stress and lifts your spirit – Walking allows you to inhale more oxygen and helps in releasing endorphins (the good mood hormones). A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine shows lower levels of stress in students who walk regularly. While those who do not walk regularly have higher stress levels.
2] Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke – Walking has an overall protective benefit for your blood vessels. It improves blood circulation and clears them from of bad cholesterol and clots. Another major benefit of walking is that it helps in increasing the good cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardio-vascular diseases.
3] Improves mental ability – The National Council of Ageing conducted a study and concluded that 45 minutes of walking a day sharpens the mental ability of the person and boosts his brain function, alertness and concentration.
4] Helps in maintaining blood sugar levels: Diabetics can avail special benefits of walking by adjusting their walk time according to their blood sugar levels. For those individuals who have higher post-prandial (after meal) blood sugar levels, it is advisable to walk for 10 – 15 minutes after every meal. While those who have higher fasting blood sugar levels, it is advisable to walk during late evenings. This helps in controlling the overnight hepatic output of blood glucose.
This particular benefit of walking is not only for diabetics but also for those who want to cut down the risk of developing diabetes or for those who fall in the high-risk category because of genes/medical problems. A study conducted by the School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh discovered that walking for 30 minutes a day cuts diabetes risk for both overweight and normal weight men and women. You may be interested in diet plan for diabetics
5] Reduces impotency in men – A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that walking for around 3.3 km (2 miles) daily helps in reducing erectile dysfunction and impotency in men. The effect was more prominent in diabetic and middle-aged men.
6] Reduces the risk of cancer: Walking helps in reducing the risk of cancers of the breast and the colon. One major benefit of walking for a cancer patient is that it improves their appetite.
7] Helps in weight maintenance: Walking is an exercise that helps in weight loss or even gain weight. Walking improves the BMR and hence you notice a few inches loss (specially from hips and thighs) within a few days of starting your walks. It is a healthy aerobic exercise which also helps you in maintaining your weight once your goal is achieved
8] Walkers have long lives: A Honolulu-based heart study that was conducted on 8,000 men found that walking just for two miles (3.2 km) a day cuts the risk of death due to illness by almost 50 percent.
How to start walking to avail the benefits of walking –
You are now aware of the benefits of walking. But to avail these benefits of walking, you must be motivated enough to start your walks and then make it a routine and continue it for a life time. Motivate yourself to walk.
Obviously walking is more beneficial when its done in the morning, but if you are a late riser or lack of time is your concern, then don’t give up on walking just because of the time factor. Grab your walking shoes and choose a suitable place like a park / ground / terrace / parking or even road side and get walking at any convenient hour of the day / evening. Don’t forget to avoid these common mistakes during walking while you avail your benefits of walking.