Long before automobiles, planes, or bikes could rely on our getting around, walking still served as an essential human function, enabling humans to get from point A to point B safely. Today, most people walk for exercise, not just for transportation. Many scientists and fitness experts note significant health benefits not just to walkers, runners, and bikers, but even to those with sedentary lifestyles. Health specialists say that if we continue to maintain our sedentary lifestyle, over time, it can be harmful to our mental and physical health.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, walking for at least one hour every other day is the minimum amount of physical activity required to maintain optimal fitness. Physical activity increases the heart rate, burns up more calories, and helps build lean muscle mass, according to the ACSM. Walking also has other benefits, such as promoting good posture, helping reduce stress, and improving mental well-being. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine reports that elderly people who regularly attend walks have better mobility than those who don't.
For a healthy weight loss program, you need to do more than burn calories through cardiovascular exercise and muscle-strengthening exercises. You also need to engage in some physical activity. Studies show that when overweight adults were asked about their level of physical activity, they said they seldom exercised, preferring instead to eat high-calorie food and sit in front of the television for hours. This may sound like good advice until you realize that sitting in front of the television is not an effective form of physical activity and can actually lead to obesity.
Walking for exercise not only burns more calories, but it improves your overall health and reduces your risk of many types of cancer, such as breast, colorectal, prostate, and colon cancer. It also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Regular walking helps increase your energy and stamina. This means you are more likely to achieve your daily goals. As an added benefit, exercise has also been shown to increase one's sense of well-being, improve mood, and reduce depression, according to the British Heart Foundation.
Finally, cardiovascular exercise can improve your mood. Some studies have shown that walking at a slower pace or doing brisk walking while listening to music or watching the sun go down may help elevate the mood. In addition, walking in an area with low traffic can even help reduce stress, tension and may even help you sleep better at night. A study conducted in The UK by the British Heart Foundation found that those who walked at least two miles each week had a significantly lower blood pressure level than those who did not exercise.
Walking is a great way to relieve stress and get in shape. Whether you walk on your own or with another person, you will be getting plenty of cardiovascular and aerobic benefits. To get the most from this activity, however, it is important to maintain your step count every time you walk. If you do not, you are not only risking your health, you are also setting yourself up for failure since keeping your step count too low can cause injury.
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