The concept of fitness is understood by many people that it basically means doing some strenuous exercises using sophisticated gym equipment to keep our bodies healthy and fit. Actually, this is not the case. Overall fitness is defined by the good physical condition that is maintained with the help of a balanced and nutritious diet along with proper exercise. In layman’s terms, fitness means good health.
As we age our basal metabolic rate (BMR) reduces which in turn reduces the capacity of the heart and other vital organs of the body. As the capacity of the heart reduces we keep on accumulating fat in our body. The accumulation of LDL (bad cholesterol) gives rise to hypertension and in the long run may increase the risk of heart attacks. To keep our basal metabolic rate high we have to increase our physical activities so that the capacity of the heart remains as active as possible. Those who wish to join a gym and start an exercise program for fitness are health conscious people but many of us may not be lucky to join a gym because of our super busy work schedule and family commitments. But as the old proverb says, “Health is Wealth” and we need to keep our bodies fit and healthy. The cheapest and the easiest way to stay fit and healthy is to start walking in your spare time.
If you can manage to go for a “morning walk”, then that’s perfect but if that is not possible due to your schedule, then just try to walk whenever you can. A great time to walk is during your lunchtime, within the office campus, during the evening when you return home from work and even during the night if you feel you are free at that time. Any time is suitable for walking and our body adapts to it as we practice the schedule everyday. An adult need to do a physical activity for 30-40 minutes every day for good health and to stay fit. But if that is not always possible then walk for at least 20 minutes a day which will help keep many diseases away.
As you probably already know, walking is a form of aerobic activity which improves the heart, elevates mood, makes us physically fit and improves our quality of life. But remember that beginners should start off walking 15-20 minutes a day and then you can increase both the speed and the time for your walking workouts. This is because each one of us has a different level of fitness and when any form of physical exercise becomes tolerable, the body will adapt to it and it will again start reducing the body’s fitness level. That is why it is always advisable to change various modes or styles of exercise.
For example, if someone walks for about 30 minutes everyday at a moderate speed, after a month or so their metabolic rate will become constant because their body got used to that 30 minutes of walking. As a result, their fitness level is reduced and in order to keep their fitness at the same level they will need to change either the speed of walking or the style of walking or a mixture of both (walk uphill or on an incline when using the treadmill).
Walking is such a great low impact exercise that most people can start a walking routine and benefit from it. But if you suffer from any chronic life long disease or if you’re taking any medication, it is best to consult with your family physician before starting any type of exercise program. Walking can be a great cardio exercise for people of any age without suffering any major side effects for a normal healthy person. You only need a pair of good shoes with good cushioning and loose cotton clothing to keep you comfortable when you start perspiring.
Before, during and after your walk make sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. To keep yourself motivated you can use a pedometer, which will give you a step count, calorie count and will keep the overall time for your workout. Studies have shown that a daily walk of 10,000 steps is a great exercise routine for keeping people of all ages fit and healthy.
Here Are Several Benefits of Walking:
- Walking at a moderate pace for about 30 minutes a day can reduce weight up to 0.5kg in a month, which is great for maintaining your weight.
- Walking increases the power of the brain by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This is useful even for senior citizens which can help to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Walking after a hectic day of work can reduce stress and your anxiety level. It elevates mood and helps to release fatigue and thus prevents us from depression.
- It can reduce the risk of getting affected from cancer by increased blood circulation.
- It reduces the risk of hypertension and diabetes. A regular walk can utilize the insulin in the body in a better way. The extra sugar in your body gets utilized much better due to the fluid movement of the blood.
- Walking everyday reduces the risk of all types of cardiovascular diseases including stroke and heart attacks.
- Pregnant women can walk to reduce body fatigue, which arises due to physiological changes during pregnancy. It also lowers the hormonal imbalance which may give rise to uterine contraction that is responsible for many miscarriages.
- Walking regularly for two miles a day can cut down the risk of impotency to a large extent due to increased blood flow.
- Walking can help you live longer as it can delay many age related diseases like osteoarthritis, joint pain due to the weakening of muscle and ligaments, back pain, colon and breast cancer.
- Walking strengthens bones, hip muscles, joints and thus prevents fractures from falling.
As you can see, there are many health benefits to walking, so it’s a great idea to start an exercise routine today so you can walk your way to a happy and healthier lifestyle.