Walking is one of the most done activities by mankind. We all walk for different purposes.
Why walking is different from other exercises?
- It is free exercise.
- Not a complicated exercise
- Does not require any special training or equipment.
- No special timings are needed i.e can be done anytime.
- It is a low-impact exercise-No vigorous activity involved
- Suitable for all age groups
Benefits of walking
There are countless benefits of walking which include the following:
1. Weight management:
Brisk walking is good for weight loss and maintaining weight. (How much weight is reduced by walking)
2. Helps in the management of the following:
- cholesterol level
- heart conditions
- Type 2 diabetes
- mood disorders etc.
- serotonin level
- dopamine level
- cortisol production
3. Regular walking results in stronger muscles and bones and good functioning of involved joints.
4. Improves the respiratory system as walking accelerates breathing resulting in faster availability of oxygen in the blood system.
5. Improvement in overall energy; It has been observed that those who are regularly walking have better energy levels when compared to their sedentary lifestyles.
6. Better mobility-The older persons who are regularly walking are more mobile and have less fear of falling as they have better balance. They are also found to be able to ward off their mental illnesses.
7. Better overall health and immunity
8. Better sleep
9. It has also been observed that those who regularly walk are conscious of their food choices as well. Throughout the day we have to make choices with regard to the food we take and the activities we do. Regular walking has a role in shaping the thinking about fitness which includes healthier food choices.
10. Better peristalsis – It has also been observed that walking promotes good gut health by increasing peristalsis or muscle movement in the digestive tract which helps in digestion.
What is the correct way of walking?
Like any other exercise, good planning and technique of walking can also impact its results. The following points may be relevant in ensuring good performance.
- One has to select the proper place to walk,
- The footwear shall be comfortable have a good sole, adequate padding, and fit properly.
- The clothes shall also be comfortable, according to the weather, and good for athletic activities.
- While walking the head shall be up and one should look forward, the back should be straight, arms should naturally swing with the walking and may also naturally bend at the elbow.
- Do little warming up and gentle stretching before walking.
- Suppose walking time is 45 minutes, then first 5-10 minutes the walk should be at a leisure speed and then slowly increase the speed. During the last 5-10 minutes the speed shall be decreased followed by some stretching.
- It has to be kept in mind that we all have different levels of energy. Some may take longer to cover the same distance as compared to others. So one shall do the walking exercise according to one’s level of fitness and strength.
- The walking duration and intensity shall be gradually increased,
- Consistency is more important. The gradual building of stamina will lead to better results. The time needed for traveling the same distance will gradually decrease and you will be able to cover a longer distance at the same time.
- The speed of walking shall be such that you can continue a conversation if walking with someone. Don’t push yourself to achieve your goal or match others’ performances. Try to remain at your target heart rate.
- Slowly. our body gets accustomed to similar kinds of activities. Therefore, variation in intensity and pushing the limits gradually will increase the level of fitness and strength. You can also push your limits by walking with dumbbells in your hands or backpack having some stuff that weighs. Walking uphill or climbing stairs also improves the results.
- The heel should touch the surface first and then the toe.
- Some people prefer walking on grass rather than hard surfaces.
- Further, the need for protection from the sun, wherever necessary shall also be kept in mind.
- Keeping yourself hydrated is also essential for workouts.
How to be motivated and consistent in your walk routine.
Many of us start the routine and are not able to continue it for long. Amongst other reasons, the major one is lack of motivation and discipline. Setting some goals and then sticking to the routine to accomplish the same are the keys. It is never too late to commence your journey to fitness, reclaim your health, and prevent disease. The following steps may help in remaining motivated:
Monitor your progress
Setting goals and keeping track of your efforts to achieve the goals helps. You can have long-term, monthly, weekly, and/or daily goals. This depends on a number of factors. You can also have your own walk journal which will provide details of your performance. It will have a true account of actions taken and will be inspiring.
There are numerous apps that assist in tracking activities.
The under-mentioned steps also help in remaining motivated:
- Fixing specific times for walking is the first step towards discipline in workouts.
- Joining a walk club, going with friends, or walking in a group also helps.
- Listening to music while walking, and going on different routes/long trails also kills the boredom.
- Getting off the vehicle or transport at a distance from the destination and then walking to the
destination helps busy people achieve their walking goals.
- Taking the pet for a walk also keeps continuity.
- Having meetings while walking does the twin purpose.
- dropping kids to school if the school is nearby is a bonus.
So, get up and reclaim your super health through this simple, inexpensive, and sustainable activity.