Benefits of walking-
The faster and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits. For example, you may start out as an average walker, and then work your way up to walking faster and walking a mile in a shorter amount of time than an average walker, similar to power walkers. This can be a great way to get aerobic activity, improve your heart health and increase your endurance while burning calories.
Walking is an excellent form of low impact, moderate intensity exercise that has a range of health benefits. For example, something as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day could reduce stress and improve your general well-being. Walking also increases energy levels and is a cost effective way of getting your 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Other benefits of walking includes-
- Prevents or manage various conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer and type 2 diabetes
- Improve cardiovascular fitness
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve muscle endurance
- Increase energy levels
- Improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep
- Improve your balance and coordination
- Strengthen immune system
Plan your routine
- Get the right gear- Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and gear appropriate for all types of weather, such as layers in cooler weather. Aim to wear moisture-wicking fabrics, which will keep you more comfortable. If you walk outdoors when it’s dark, wear bright colours or reflective tape for visibility. Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses if you’re going out during the day.
- Some people choose to use an activity tracker, app or pedometer. These can be helpful to track your time, distance, heart rate and calories.
- Choose your course carefully. If you’ll be walking outdoors, avoid paths with cracked sidewalks, potholes, low-hanging limbs or uneven turf.
- If the weather isn’t appropriate for walking, consider walking in a shopping mall that offers open times for walkers.
- Warm up. Walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles and prepare your body for exercise.
- Cool down. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to help your muscles cool down.
- Stretch. After you cool down, gently stretch your muscles. If you’d rather stretch before you walk, remember to warm up first
Make walking enjoyable. If you don’t like walking alone, ask a friend or neighbour to join you. If you’re energised by groups, join a health club or walking group. You might like listening to music while you walk.
Vary your routine. If you walk outdoors, plan several different routes for variety. If you often walk in your neighbourhood, consider walking somewhere new, such as a city or state park. Try taking routes with hills or stairs as you become used to walking more. Or walk faster for a few minutes and then slow down for a few minutes and repeat the cycle. If you’re walking alone, tell someone which route you’re taking. Walk in safe, well-lit locations.
Take missed days in stride. If you find yourself skipping your daily walks, don’t give up. Remind yourself how good you feel when you include physical activity in your daily routine, and then get back on track.