Walking is easily one of the most relaxing, low-impact exercises that you can engage in. Surprisingly, when it comes to weight loss and building muscle, walking is also one of the most effective. If you’ve been looking for a way to improve your fitness plan or if you simply need to get a fitness plan in place, walking will make it easy. Following are a few well-known ways in which walking can enhance your health, along with several surprising ones.
Bust Stress And Burn Belly Fat
Like many people, you may find that your most stubborn trouble zone is your tummy. Most modern individuals are predisposed to excess fat storage at the lower abdomen due to high stress levels. When you’re stressed, your body invariably produces more cortisol, which in turn leads to abdominal fat storage. This is your body’s ingrained way of gearing up for a perceived starvation or trauma event. Because the body is always working to protect itself, elevated stress levels and preventative fat storage tend to go hand-in-hand.
If your job stresses you out, putting on a comfortable pair of pants and some supportive walking shoes should be the very first thing that you do when you get home. The opposite arm and leg movements that you make while walking have a relaxing effect on your body. As a result, walking makes it difficult to focus your mind on multiple stressors at once. This makes it possible for many avid walkers to quickly quiet their thoughts, hone in on individual problems, and mentally address or even resolve them. Many people find that the best solutions and the most innovative ideas are arrived at while walking.
Get A Perfectly Balanced Workout
Every good workout has both cardiovascular and strength-building elements. Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that requires constant movement, builds your heart rate, raises your temperature, and increases your rate of respiration. Dancing, running, jogging, and cycling are all examples. Compared to running and jogging, walking is a relatively low-impact exercise that won’t put any undue stress on your joints and bones. In fact, aside from twisted ankles due to unexpected obstacles or obstructions, it’s actually quite difficult to sustain a workout-related injury while walking at a moderate pace.
Strength-building activities are typically performed in repetitions or sets. These can include exercises that rely on gravity and your own body weight for resistance such as squats, lunges, abdominal crunches, or pull-ups done using a pull-up bar. When you walk on an incline, however, you’re using many of the same muscles that you’ll use when performing a lunge or a squat. The repetitive movements of your swinging arms, whether these are straight by your sides or bent, will also be building muscles and increasing strength. If you walk a sufficient distance, this fact will be impossible to ignore. The soreness that you feel from an incredibly challenging walk will affect nearly every major muscle throughout your body. Moreover, if you practice good posture and make sure to engage your core muscles while walking, you’ll also get a pretty good ab workout in too. In short, walking, particularly walking on surfaces with changing inclines, can give you a low-impact, low-stress, and highly effective, total body workout.
Walking Routines Are Incredibly Adaptable
The one drawback of every workout routine there ever was and will be is the fact that it will only remain challenging for a limited period of time. The exercise program you start today won’t be as effective for producing new gains in strength or new weight loss several months down the road. This is all the more true if you’re fairly disciplined in maintaining your workout schedule.
With walking, however, you can simply alter your distance, your incline, or your speed. This is easiest to do and track if you use a pedometer, a timer, or a treadmill. You can add hand weights, ankle weights, or short sprints to kick things up a notch. No matter what your fitness goals or fitness levels may be, there is always a walking plan that will work right for you. For people who are tired of dealing with shin splints, heel spurs, sore needs, or physical discomforts caused by high-stress jogging or running routines, walking can be just as challenging.
Speed Walking For Weight Loss And Vastly Improved Fitness
Walking doesn’t have to be intense in order to produce results. In fact, walking just 30 minutes per day at a moderate pace is good for your body. There are a number of automatic health benefits that you can experience with just this level of activity. It is enough to balance and moderate your blood pressure, ramp up your metabolism, balance your mood, burn calories, and challenge select muscle groups. Although walking isn’t a cure-all for hypertension, it one of the safest and most effective, natural strategies for bringing blood pressure down and keeping it down, while limiting reliance upon prescription medication. If you want to regulate your blood pressure, talk to your doctor about supplementing any current medications with a dedicated, moderate walking routine.
If you are extremely overweight and want to incorporate fitness training into your weight loss program, walking is perfect. It is easy to do almost anywhere, and you can tailor your goals to suit your rapidly changing fitness abilities. Given that it’s low-stress, it’s perfect for anyone with sore ankles, sore knees, and sore hips. Best of all, walking is incredibly good for your heart.
For people who are more advanced in their fitness, speed walking can be the ideal replacement for running or jogging. Surprisingly, speed walking can burn just as many calories as jogging can. Thus, there’s no need to actually pound pavement in order to get rid of fat. Just extend your strides, build your speed, and really pump your arms.
How Much Walking Is Enough?
When you think about it, humans are doing far less walking than they are actually built to do. Cars, buses, and other tools of modern convenience eliminate much of the busy work that we once did for ourselves. Depending upon the type of job that you do, you also probably do very little walking while at work. In fact, some modern individuals spend so little time walking and movement about, that they’re actually suffering physical injuries, lower back pain, and many other discomfort as the direct result of their sedentary lifestyles.
One very old estimate of the average number of steps that a person should be taking each day is 10,000. Depending upon the length of your legs and ultimately, the length of your strides, this works out to be about 4.5 to 5 miles of walking daily. It would include the steps that you take from your bedroom to the bathroom, from your front door to your car, and from your office to the copy room as well as all other miscellaneous jaunts. Again, given the nature of the modern lifestyle, most people aren’t really getting their normal five miles in.
This, however, doesn’t mean that you need to walk five miles each day. Instead, you should try to calculate how much walking you’re doing as part of your normal routine, and then supplement this. People who’ve committed to walking 10,000 miles per day have managed to make remarkable improvements in their health, and many have dropped remarkable amounts of weight.
Getting Your Walking Plan Started
Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise to engage in. There is no need for special equipment, and there’s no special preparation required. Getting started with a new walking plan is as easy as lacing up your tennis shoes and stepping out onto the sidewalk. To track your progress, however, you may want to have a pedometer to count your steps. If you’d like to make walking your primary form of exercise year-round, you may even want to invest in a treadmill. With this, you can take your walks in the great outdoors, but can keep your workouts consistent when the weather is cold and rainy.