Sunday, June 7, 2009

Benefits of Walking

If there ever has been an elixir of health, fitness and youth, it would have to be walking. There are so many benefits of walking, that it would be difficult to enumerate them all in a single article. Research has shown that people who walk regular have lower incidence of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer, and other similar diseases. A brisk walk any time in the day can do more for uplifting the mood than any visit to a psychiatrist or anti-depressant drugs. For most people it is the easiest form of exercise, which requires no expensive equipment, apart from a good pair of shoes, can be done practically in any weather and terrain, and done at any age, from the very young to a ripe old age. Given below are few more benefits of walking.

Walking increases Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Fitness:

Walking increases the capacity of the lungs and heart to supply oxygenated blood to the muscles as well as enhances the ability of the muscles to use the oxygen to create energy for physical activity. This also helps to reduce high blood pressure.

Walking increases Bone Density:

Since it is a weight bearing exercise, walking helps to increase the strength and density of bones, especially of the lower back and hips. This prevents osteoporosis, and also reduces the chances of suffering from hip fractures, as one grows older.

Walking helps in Weight Control:

Body weight can be kept in control when one expends calories via physical exercise like walking. The best way to keep one’s weight in check is to maximize the amount of calories expended along with eating healthy and nutritious food.

Walking Helps to Burn Fat:

Another way walking helps to keep weight under control is by burning fat. Those who are obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle can increase their fitness levels by taking up walking, since this the best form of exercise to start with. Walking helps in working out at a steady pace for an extended period of time, which is the most effective way to burn fat.

Walking Reduces Depression:

Research has proven that walking improves one’s sense of self worth and mood, and reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression. When done in pleasant environs along with friends, it can be a way of being in contact socially and be a therapeutic form of relaxation. This also helps in sleeping better, which also helps in keeping the mood on even keel.

Walking keeps your Brain Young:

Apart from a healthy body, walking can also keep your brain functioning at its optimum best, reducing the chances of aging related mental deterioration. It enables this by reducing the chances of diseases like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, which can affect the flow of blood to the brain, and also because it increases the flow of blood to the brain while reducing the blood pressure. Also, walking with friends and enjoying nature’s soothing effects also help to keep the brain stimulated and young.

Some of the other benefits of walking include:

Reducing the chances of falling and breaking bones because it increases muscular strength and co-ordination; increases stamina; reduces the risk of colon cancer; and reduces the debilitating effects of degenerative joint diseases.

To derive the most benefits of walking, it is recommended to walk as briskly as you can. When you walk briskly, your heart will work harder than when strolling or at rest, however without beating uncomfortably fast, and your breath will also be deeper, but with conversation being possible. However, if you have not exercised in a long while, it is best to begin slowly, building up your ability to walk briskly gradually.

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