Why you should walk more

Health

Why you should walk more

BY JO-HANNA TAYLOR

Sunday, July 19, 2020

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WHEN you hear about cardiovascular activity these days, walking is usually overlooked.

Why? It's considered not good enough, and people are leaning more towards high-impact, high-intensity and 'exciting' cardio options like running, dancing and boot camp, just to name a few.

Even though high-impact exercise is one of the most effective ways to burn calories and achieve better weight loss results, physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. A 2007 study of inactive women found that even a low level of exercise — around 75 minutes per week — significantly improved their fitness levels when compared to a non-exercising group.

Let's dive into the benefits of walking and why it is important to walk more.

Benefits of walking

Walking doesn't get the respect it deserves. If you do an informal poll, it is generally considered ineffective.

This is simply not true.

Walking has numerous health benefits to people of various ages and fitness levels. The benefits, of course, depend on the intensity, the frequency and the duration of the exercise.

Eases joint pain

Not only is it easy on the joints, but walking helps to gently lubricate and warm the muscles necessary for joint support. Walking is also a great exercise when you had an intense workout prior, and want to recover but still need to move without stressing your system. This ensures smooth recovery and general injury prevention.

Burns calories

Walking increases your heart rate, causing you to burn calories. Your calorie burn depends on how fast you walk, for how long, the terrain, and your weight.

Burning calories depends on the intensity level you bring to your workout, which is all up to you. If you are looking for a similar calorie burn as a run, your walk will have to be fairly high-intensity.

However, rather than focusing on numbers and metrics when walking, it's best to focus on how you feel. How do your lungs and muscles feel? If you can push yourself faster and do steeper hills, then challenge yourself and go for it.

If you can't, be patient and work at the same level until you're ready for a new challenge.

Improves mood

Numerous studies confirm that aerobic exercise (walking included) helps to reduce levels of natural stress hormones like cortisol. One study found that just 12 minutes of walking resulted in an increase in energy, attentiveness and self-confidence versus the same time spent sitting.

Contributes to heart health

Walking helps to reduce risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that those who consistently maintained a walking programme showed significant improvements in blood pressure, reduction of body fat and body weight, and reduced cholesterol.

Better exercise choice for many

Walking is a better option if you have knee, back, or ankle issues, or are overweight, as walking improves stability, balance and coordination. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase your walking pace and distance.

So let's start walking for our health! It is free and is incredibly easy to add to your day once you make it a habit!

Walking tips

1. Park farther away from your destination in order to walk more.

2. Divide the walking in chunks throughout your day. According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, 30 minutes of physical activity everyday lowers your risk of developing non-communicable diseases. So three 10-minute blocks of brisk walking is a step in the right direction.

3. Use the stairs when you can.

4. Get sneakers that are comfortable and leave your feet blister-free.

5. Join a walk/run club to get additional support and motivation.

6. Use a pedometer for a more accurate reading, with an aim of two-four miles.

Walk more. Walk good.

Jo-Hanna Taylor is an internationally certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, registered Power Vinyasa Yoga Instructor and a wellness coach that specialises in behaviour change. Want to ask a question or share some positive vibes? E-mail johanna@wearetaylormade.net or send a message on Instagram using the handle: @jo_hannabanana


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