Walk Your Way to Better Health

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walk for better health

You know that you need to exercise. But many of you can’t or won’t exercise on a regular basis due to various reasons. The main excuse being, “I don’t have time,” or “I can’t do complicated exercises.”

But exercising doesn’t have to be complicated or, time-consuming. 

Try walking for exercise. Yes, doing something simple like a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.

Why Walk? 

Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Walking offers many health benefits to people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s free to do and easy to fit into your daily routine. 

Walking is low impact, needing only minimal equipment, can be done any time at your own pace. It’s also a great form of physical activity for the elderly, overweight, or those who haven’t exercised in a long time.

Benefits of Walking

Just 30 minutes of walking every day can give us numerous health benefits, like:

  • Strengthen immune system
  • Help lose body fat
  • Help maintain a healthy weight  
  • Boost immune function 
  • Prevent or manage many health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and type 2 diabetes
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness
  • Strengthen the bones and muscles
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Boost energy levels
  • Improve mood, cognition, memory, and sleep
  • Reduce stress and tension

Building physical activity into your life

To get the health benefits, walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days. You’re walking briskly if you can still talk but cannot sing. Walking poses little health risk but if you have a medical condition, consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

If 30 minutes at one time is hard for you, do regular small rounds of 10 minutes each, three times per day, then gradually build up to longer sessions. But if your goal is to lose weight, you need to do physical activity for longer than 30 minutes each day. 

Using walking apps on your iPhone or Android smartphone can help you get more out of your walks. These apps track data including your speed, distance, route, steps, calories burned, and activity. 

Make walking part of your routine

Make walking a habit. To make it easier to have walking part of your routine, choose a walking route near your home. Or if you prefer, look for a scenic place such as a walking trail or on the beach.

To make walking a routine, try to walk at the same time each day. Do what is most convenient for you. You may find that asking someone to walk with you will help make it a regular activity. You can also recruit a friend or family member to walk with you and hold you accountable. Some people find that keeping an activity log also makes it easier.

  • If you commute, get off public transport one stop early and walk the rest of the way to work.
  • Park farther away from your office than usual and walk to and from your car.
  • Consider walking instead of driving when you run errands. You can complete your tasks and fit in exercise at the same time.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk with family or friends.
  • Walk the dog (if you have one).
  • Join a walking club,

Safety tips while walking

Follow these tips to ensure your safety while walking outside:

  • Walk in well-lit designated areas for pedestrians. 
  • If you walk in the early morning or evening hours, wear a reflective vest so that cars can see you.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Wear sturdy shoes with good heel and arch support.
  • Drink plenty of water before and after your walk to stay hydrated.
  • Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn, even on cloudy days.

Stuck at home?

If you’re stuck at home and walking outside is not an option, you can still do your walking exercise at home. Try the walk at home apps you can find online for free that can help you achieve your fitness goals. Or, on Youtube, search for “walk at home” or “walk indoors” videos. 

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