There has been a great deal of research and write-ups about the benefits of walking. And they are all pretty convincing.
Still, some people do not consider walking to be a form of exercise. Probably because it does not look cool or not challenging enough.
But the mere fact that walking is a simple exercise that anyone can do should be the primary reason you consider starting a walking habit today.
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Effects of a sedentary lifestyle
According to the World Health Organization, having a sedentary lifestyle is a serious threat to people’s health.
Specifically, the World Health Organization said that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of all causes of death. This includes the following:
- Cardiovascular disease,
- Colon cancer,
- High blood pressure,
- Lipid disorders,
- Depression, and
Furthermore, the United Nations specialized agency stated that 60 to 85 percent of people worldwide lead sedentary lifestyles. As a result, it is a serious public health issue that must be addressed.
What walking can do for you
Having stated that a sedentary lifestyle is a health risk, the World Health Organization recommended that we adopt the habit of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a preventive measure.
And that is, engaging in moderate physical activity for up to 30 minutes per day, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet.
Therefore, as moderate physical activity, walking meets the World Health Organization’s initial requirement of a healthy lifestyle.
Reasons for walking
Besides meeting the minimum health criteria, walking also provides numerous benefits. Continue reading to learn some of the more convincing reasons why you should develop a walking habit.
Walking improves physical health
To reiterate, walking is the simplest form of exercise you can get into that will provide the benefits of moderate physical activity.
Getting into the habit of walking can help prevent heart disease and reduce your blood pressure. There is no need for any other special regimen or equipment; simply get up and walk.
Another physical health benefit of walking is that it helps to improve BMI in diabetics and allows efficient use of glucose by the muscle.
This means proper insulin utilization in the body and improvement of blood sugar levels.
Additionally, you will improve muscle strength and endurance, as well as your stamina with regular walking.
Walking helps to maintain or lose weight
Depending on your goal, walking can help you maintain or lose weight. This is because your calorie burn will depend on factors such as your speed and intensity, the distance covered. And your current weight.
So, the more intense your walk, the more calories you will burn. That is, brisk walking will help you lose weight more effectively than a leisurely stroll.
Walking helps tone your legs
Another side benefit of walking is that it helps tone your leg muscles. Now, ain’t that grand? Apart from health improvement, you also get to improve the physical appearance of your legs!
Incorporating stairs, a hilly area, or using your treadmill’s incline function into your walking routine will help strengthen your leg muscles.
Also, you can supplement your walking routine with other cross-training and resistance exercises to help tone and strengthen your leg muscles.
Walking boosts immune system
With a walking habit, you will improve your chances of avoiding common colds, the flu, and other immune-related diseases.
This is because, walking, as physical activity increases the number of white blood cells in your blood. These cells serve as your body’s natural defense against infection and disease.
Walking improves mental health
Your mental well-being also benefits from a walking habit. How?
By increasing the flow of blood to your brain and body. This will have a positive effect on your central nervous system which is in charge of your stress response.
Getting into the habit of walking also helps calm your nerves, making you feel less stressed.
Want to double the positive effect? Walk with a friend. Enjoy a brisk walk with friends or family and you will definitely improve your mood, not to mention your relationships.
Consequently, you will also ward off feelings of depression and anxiety. And improve your self-esteem.
Improves creative thinking
Some great thinkers, achievers, and revolutionaries walk to come up with great ideas or solutions to problems.
These famous individuals include Nikola Tesla, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. To name a few writers, we have J.K. Rowling, Ernest Hemingway, L.M. Montgomery, and Henry David Thoreau.
So, what exactly is it about walking that inspires creativity? According to a Stanford University study, this is due to the dynamic interaction of the brain’s left and right hemispheres. Which leads to an increase in creative thinking.
Walking helps you live longer
Walking improves the quality of your life by increasing your energy level, improving your sleep quality, improving your mood, and slowing down mental degeneration, according to research.
Other studies have found that even leisurely walking reduces depression symptoms and increases positive emotions and feelings in older adults.
These health benefits reduce your risk of developing sedentary-related diseases and significantly lower your risk of dying.
Simple Tips to develop a walking habit
If you are just beginning with your walking habit, start small.
This is to ensure that you will be able to continue with the habit because you are starting at an easy pace. You can start doing 5-10 minute walks until you get the hang of it. You can then increase your time and pace from there.
Set a regular schedule
Make it a point to take a walk at the same time each day. This will easily etch the pattern in your brain and easier for the habit to set in.
However, if you can’t keep the schedule regular, you can always adjust. The goal is still to do your activity walking for the day.
Track your progress
As part of habit development, you should also keep track of your walking activity. This can help you stay on track toward better health and fitness through your walking habit.
By tracking your habit, you can immediately see how you are progressing. The number of minutes you can walk, the distance you can walk, and the intensity with which you walk.
You can use these numbers to motivate and guide your daily walking habit. Certainly, reaching your goals feels good and provides you with a foundation from which to build.
To keep track of your progress, keep a journal or use an activity tracker like Fitbit.
Setting up a reward system for yourself is another way to make walking more enjoyable. And a lot easier to develop as a habit.
For example, every time you beat your previous time, you get an extra hour to watch Netflix. Another example is getting a pedicure if you keep up your daily walk for a month.
The goal is to make your rewards appealing and fun. So that achieving your goals does not feel like a chore.
However, you should keep in mind, that your rewards should not be counterproductive to your goals.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, rewarding yourself with a doughnut or two is a bad idea.
Walk with a friend
Make your walking activity an opportunity to make new friends or strengthen existing ones.
How? By organizing a group walk with your friends or family. You can use your walking activity to catch up on each other’s lives.
You can also make new friends by joining a walking group or organization in your area. Joining groups would also help you improve your networking skills.
Another option is to take your dog for a walk. You can’t go wrong with a dog as a walking buddy.
Walking safety tips
Although walking is a simple enough exercise, you should still keep the following safety tips in mind.
- Perform stretching exercises before and after your walking session.
- Bring a water bottle with you to stay hydrated.
- For proper protection and support, invest in a good pair of walking shoes.
- Walk in designated pedestrian areas.
- Wear a reflective vest or light if you go for a walk late at night or early in the morning so that drivers can see you.
- Wear weather appropriate clothes.
- Don’t forget your sunscreen.
To conclude, walking is the simplest form of exercise you can get into.
Definitely, walking is an exercise that meets the World Health Organization’s recommendation of moderate physical activity.
In addition, walking has other compelling reasons why it is regarded as the best form of exercise. Among the reasons are:
- Walking improves physical health,
- Helps to maintain or lose weight,
- Helps tone your legs,
- Boosts immune system,
- Improves mental health,
- Improves creative thinking, and
- Helps you live longer.
To develop a walking habit you should keep in mind the following simple tips:
- Start small,
- Set a regular schedule,
- Track your progress,
- Reward yourself, and
- Walk with a friend.
Please share your thoughts or ideas about the 7 Reasons To Develop A Walking Habit Today in the comments below. And if you liked this article, you might be interested as well in these articles:
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Building Good Habits For Your To Be
How To Make Your Walking Hobby A Habit
Physical inactivity a leading cause of disease and disability, warns WHO
What Are the Benefits of Walking?
Stepping Up Your Creativity: Walking, Meditation, and the Creative Brain
Take a Walk: 11 Ways to Build the Healthy Habit