“Walking is man’s best medicine. ”― Hippocrates
In 300 BC, the father of modern medicine spoke these words. It is just as true and valid today as it was then. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that for most of us we have become used to a sedentary lifestyle. Some of us believe that a good way to lose weight and stay fit is to motivate ourselves to join gyms or fitness studios— both of which are costly. However, the truth is that losing weight doesn’t require you to get out and lift heavy weights or engage in strenuous activities, just a mere walk of 30 minutes a day can help tremendously.
Yes, walking is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get more active. The best thing about walking is that it doesn’t require any special equipment and you can do it anytime and anywhere. Walking not only helps in losing weight but it also has several other health benefits. In this article, we will discuss how walking can add years to your life.
HELPFUL IN LOSING WEIGHT:
Physical activity, such as walking, helps you to burn calories and this can ultimately help you lose weight. A brisk walk of 30 min is recommended by the American Heart Association. This 30-minute walk can help one burn about 150 calories a day. Of course, other factors too also influence the calories burnt such as age, weight, speed, etc.
Walking at a brisk pace of 3.2 miles per hour can help an individual burn an average of 90 calories.
According to a study, people who walked for 60 min 5 times a week for 3 months lost 15 inches together and 1.3% body fat.
Wearing a weighted vest or backpack can help to one burn even more calories. However, it’s important to consult a health expert and personal trainer before using weights.
Walking helps in preserving and gaining lean muscle when we lose weight.
Burning an additional 300 calories a day with a brisk walk could help you lose 30 pounds (14kg) in a year. The best part about this is that you can lose the excess weight all while maintaining keeping your the same eating habits.
Nordic walking is a type of walking that can be enjoyed by athletes as a form of sport, while for non-athlete individuals it works as a health-promoting physical activity. Research has also shown that Nordic walking has greater benefits on health parameters than normal walking.
A Canadian study showed that women who walked briskly for about an hour a day for 14 weeks, without changing their eating habits, reduced their belly fat by 20%. This demonstrates that walking can help you in reducing tummy fat without you having to make drastic changes to your diet.
Balance is key to staying fit and healthy. On the other hand, overdoing an activity can lead to exertion, injury, and can increase the risk of burnout. That’s why it’s essential to remember to increase your pace gradually. A good way to cultivate a walking routine is to start with short walks of moderate intensity. Of course, consult a health professional prior to commencing anything.
WALKING: PLETHORA OF HEALTH BENEFITS
- Accumulating fat around the abdomen is linked with many heart diseases, and even Type 2 diabetes. Women with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches have an increased risk of many health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
- In this systematic review conducted by World Obesity Federation, walking (a generally accessible activity for a largely sedentary population) was assessed as a preventive risk factor for the development of fatal and non‐fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD).
- Walking can help in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- It can aid in lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and can help raise the “good” cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
- It can help to lower blood pressure.
- It helps to maintain bone density.
- It helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- It can increase lung capacity
- Walking can even help to improve coordination and balance.
SO HOW CAN YOU TO REACH YOUR DAILY TARGET STEPS?
If walking 10,000 steps seems unattainable, one must set a reasonable goal and should must work to achieve it. Small changes in daily movement patterns can help one reach his/her target health goal. A few tips include:
- Taking walking breaks at your workplace instead of sitting for long hours.
- Using stairs instead of the elevator
- Taking your pet for a walk.
- Join a walking group. Getting a few friends to go on a walk can improve motivation.
- Using a fitness tracker app to count your steps and to monitor burnt calories.
Small habits repeated daily can lead to huge results. Simply walking or reaching a daily target of 5,000 steps can help you lose weight and belly fat. It can help to improve your mood and lung capacity. There’s so much evidence that suggests that walking does wonders for your physical and mental health. So give it a go, you will definitely feel a whole lot healthier.
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