Walking increases the number of white blood cells in the bloodstream. These cells are responsible for fighting off infections.
When a health care professional recommends regular exercise to stay fit and healthy, He/she doesn’t mean a 2-hour high intensity cardio workout followed by an hour lifting weights at the gym. He/she merely means, get off the couch and get moving! In spite of knowing that a good workout has innumerable benefits, for most of us it requires a whole lot of will-power to put those running shoes on and head out to the gym. The main reason is the impending difficulty levels of the workout and the hours it bites out of our day. All you need is a change in perspective to whip you into shape!
SET SMALL GOALS
If you are just getting started with or getting reacquainted with a workout, set small simple goals that are easily achievable. Start off with a ten-minute brisk walk at any point of the day. This does not even call for a dress change. You can walk at home or in the office lounge, whenever you get the time. A few days of this and you will give you an ego-boost that will encourage a longer walk. Increase it to a 20-minute walk in the evening. And then when you feel up to it, make it a 30-minute walk. If you manage to work out for 150 minutes in a week, you are set. Increasing this is optional.
WALKING IS ALL IT TAKES
Sometimes the simplest solutions are staring us in the face and we just don’t see it. Several studies across the globe have proven that walking for 30 minutes, five times a week is all it takes to keep us healthy and fit. High intensity training is not everyone’s cup of tea. For sports professionals, pushing the limits at the gym, is part of their job requirement. For everyone else it is a choice that needs to be made under expert supervision. One has to gradually build an endurance before indulging in explosive cardio and weight training sessions. For others, walking holds the key to several wondrous health benefits.
10 BENEFITS OF WALKING
1. Walking burns calories
Walking helps you burn calories, which means it helps you shed those extra kilos. Of course, it will not happen over-night. You have to keep at it every day and in a couple of weeks you will see the difference and sooner than later the weighing scales will show it to you too. Factors that determine how much you burn are: walking speed, distance covered and terrain. However, do not push yourself too much. Increase speed and distance depending on your general health and fitness.
2. Walking improves heart health.
Walking improves blood circulation – it brings up the heart rate, lower blood pressure and strengthens the heart. Studies say that regular walking reduces one’s risk of having a stroke.
3. Walking builds lung capacity.
A regular 30 minutes brisk walk improves lung capacity improving the health of the lungs as well. People with chronic lung disease will surely benefit from regular exercise – it decreases their symptoms and improves breathing.
4. Walking eases joint pain.
It might seem like an oxymoron, but it’s true – walking does help ease pain. One might expect exercise to cause more pain and fatigue, but that is not the case. It helps lubricate the joints and strengthens the muscles that support the joint.
5. Walking tones leg muscles
Regular walking helps one get toned leg muscles. If you have no previous complaints of joint pain, include a dash of uphill walking to improve muscle tone and fitness.
6. Walking helps prevent osteoporosis
Walking is a low impact weight bearing activity that is easy on the knees. Such low impact exercises help increase bone mass, thereby preventing osteoporosis which is a condition that renders bones brittle (easily breakable).
7. Walking is a mood elevator.
When you walk, mood elevating endorphins are released into your bloodstream, pulling one out of any feelings of gloom or depression. It also helps clear a stressed-out mind and allows the person to think more clearly.
8. Walking gives you an energy boost
When you are feeling a little lethargic, and can’t afford to go under the blanket, instead of grabbing a cup of caffeine, a quick ten-minute walk will give you the energy you need. Walking increases the flow of oxygen in the body which gives you the energy boost. Walking also increases levels of the hormones that help elevate energy levels: cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
9. Walking boosts immune function
Physical exercise increases the number of white blood cells in the bloodstream. These cells are responsible for fighting off infections.
10. Walking helps you live longer
Given the number of benefits, it is only natural to assume that walking is going to help you live a healthier life. And now studies have actually shown that people who walk regularly outlive their non-walking counterparts! Additionally, walking faster and longer increases your life expectancy.
EXERCISING DURING THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC
While exercising is important to stay healthy and boost your immunity, stepping out during these pandemic times requires taking certain precautions. Gyms and recreation centres have been opened, however, if you are unsure about the quality of sanitization of the premises do your walking outdoors. It is not advisable to wear a mask while working out, hence it is even more essential to maintain social distancing with other walkers. Walking in groups is not a good idea. And when you get home, do not forget to wash your hands thoroughly. However, if you are in a locality that has multiple confirmed cases of COVID 19, walking outside may not bode well with you. No need to lose your verve. Clear up a path at home and start walking. Alternatively, follow online fitness videos. There are several certified fitness instructors who promote walking and their exercises can be done at home.
Making exercise a part of your daily routine is important for a healthy life. However, if you have any prevalent medical conditions, please consult with your doctor before you start walking. Find the pace that suits you and build up speed and distance gradually. The aim is to make exercise a part of your everyday, forever and not just a couple of weeks. Keep walking and get healthy.