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Health Benefits From Walking

Walking is one of the best, safest and most natural forms of exercise. You can, in fact, walk your way to a healthier, stronger cardiovascular system. Walking is effective exercise for people of all ages and all states and levels of health. What’s more, walking increases our sense of well-being. Think about it – we were actually designed for lengthy, regular walking.

Walking is the most underrated exercise and yet one of the most effective; the best starting point if you haven’t moved properly in ages. One of the easiest and safest ways to get and keep fit is a brisk walk of 20 minutes three times weekly. Studies have shown that regular brisk walking can lower cholesterol levels, stimulate circulation, strengthen the heart, help control weight, reduce high blood pressure, stress and depression, prevent osteoporosis, and develop strength, stamina and endurance. New research also suggests walking is the best exercise for the brain, as it doesn’t call on blood sugar for energy like aerobic exercise. As the brain is nourished by blood sugar, it much prefers a brisk walk to an aerobics class.

If you haven’t taken any exercise for a while then start off gradually, strolling with a bit more determination a little longer than normal, slowly building up your endurance level. It is probably also a good idea to start walking at a fairly relaxed pace until you have warmed up, before graduating to a really brisk speed.

  • Strolling walk – walking in a relaxed way, but with a good posture, shoulders down, arms swinging naturally as you walk.
  • Brisk walk – fitness, pace or aerobic walking: all mean pretty much the same thing, stepping up your pace and pumping your arms as you walk.
  • Power walk – for a very fit, younger, experienced walker, usually working with a personal trainer. Walking with weights, carrying them in your hands and/or strapping them on your waist and ankles.
  • Water walk – walking (wading) through water, either in a pool or in the sea. Walking hip- to waist-high in water is a very good low-stress, high-intensity exercise. For higher intensity, run in the water, but you will need a vest or floatation belt to keep you in an upright position.
  • Treadmill walk – most gyms have treadmills, but many people are getting home versions that chart distance and speed and time the walk.
  • Even for walking you do need to be prepared
    If you are doing a lot of serious, committed walking then you might want to buy a pair of shoes actually designed for walking. When you walk you land with 1½ times your body weight on the outside of your heels; then you roll your weight forward on the ball of your foot. A good walking shoe will allow the rolling action of the foot with ease. Older people may be more stable in a shoe with a thinner hard sole. You should also wear comfortable clothes that don’t restrict your movements. In winter, wear layers that you can peel off as you warm up.

    Tips for healthy walking

  • Drink water before and afterwards. If very thirsty, stop to drink during your walk.
  • Don’t walk right after a meal. Leave at least 45-60 minutes after eating before taking a brisk walk.
  • Avoid the hottest midday hours (noon to 3pm). The ideal time is morning or late afternoon.
  • After a good long or brisk walk, it is a wise idea to eat some form or carbohydrate within a couple of hours to restore your glycogen.
  • Walking is the most natural, practical, straightforward preventative exercise programme. The ultimate safe natural fitness routine, walking builds body strength, stamina and tone. It also de-stresses you – which is good for the heart and the nervous system. In your later years, it slows down the ageing process, keeping you fit, agile and mobile. Walking also helps you develop better coordination, breath control, self esteem and endurance.

    Walking should be the primary part of your fitness routine, no matter what other exercise systems, movement or sports attract you. Walk first, then run or dance or ride your bike. It’s up to you – you can cycle till you’re blue in the face and you still won’t get all the benefits you get from a good brisk walk. If your walking muscles atrophy, the rest of your body will soon follow. Brisk walking is the greatest form of exercise: your natural basic life-long conditioning programme, protecting your heart and enhancing your well-being.

    { 10 comments… add one }
    • lindsay crasto December 22, 2008, 7:04 am

      also it helps to breath in and out to help circulate oxygen in the body.

      • lusu August 6, 2011, 4:21 pm

        nic note

    • rishika February 19, 2009, 1:06 pm

      your site is fabulous

      thanks
      for helping me

    • parul December 13, 2009, 12:47 pm

      also tell the disadvantages of morning walking….

      • Neeraj September 7, 2011, 12:58 pm

        The list of disadvantage is very short , only fatigue is include in this:-)

    • Rubaina sarkar November 3, 2010, 1:21 am

      MORNINGWALK CAN REDUCE WEIGHT REALLY?

    • agreed 2 u July 11, 2011, 6:58 am

      in fact morning walk is really an excellent task 4 everybody…Also please let me know the benefits of morning walk for liver.

    • jam@Message in a Bottle October 7, 2011, 3:58 am

      thanks for the nice tips. always taking note when im outdoors. ;-)

    • Tapan from .bbsr November 7, 2011, 10:25 am

      When I first started my morning ritual, I started by jogging in the neighborhood as a way to get my exercise in for the day. However, due to some major lower back pain that I was experiencing I had to slow down my pace. At first I was very frustrated because I was focused on heart rate and calories burned, but I ended up getting so much more out of the whole experience. I now call it “My Morning Walkabout” and I use it to clear my mind for the day. It is an opportunity for me to go on a walk with God and just talk with Him. (thanking you & your website…..)

    • Achu November 11, 2011, 9:15 am

      thank u very much for info…

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