Most children start to walk between the ages of 6 months old and 16 months old. With that in mind, most of us have been walking for a really long time. That’s why it’s often overlooked as an effective type of exercise – because it’s second nature!
But in reality, walking is an effective way to exercise. Walking is cardiovascular (cardio) exercise, which means it raises your heart rate and increases your breathing, helping to strengthen your lungs and heart. When you engage in cardio exercise, you more effectively get oxygen to your tissue, muscles and organs.
What are the benefits of walking?
There are a vast number of benefits that come with embracing walking as a form of exercise. Here are just 7 of them:
Burn calories. Walking at a brisk pace allows you to burn around 150 calories per half hour. That’s pretty good! So, if you’re hoping to lose weight, walking is a really good way to burn a good number of calories.
Increase your energy levels. Because walking increases your levels of cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, as well as increasing the amount of oxygen going through your body, it can really help to improve your energy levels.
Improve your mood. It’s well known that exercise releases endorphins that help to boost your mood and walking is no different.
Curb cravings. Do you have a sweet tooth? Walking for 15 minutes or more can actually help to reduce your cravings for sweet treats, which is perfect if you’re trying to shed a few pounds.
Boost your immune system. It’s said that regular walking can reduce your chances of getting illnesses such as cold and flu.
Reduce joint pain. Walking strengthens the muscles surrounding your joints, protecting them from damage. Plus, not only can walking reduce the pain from arthritis, it can also prevent arthritis from developing.
Sleep better. Studies have shown that those who walk a few miles or more per day are more likely to get to sleep easier, have a better quality of sleep, and have a more regularised sleeping pattern.
How to incorporate walking into your routine
Below are some simple ways that you can start incorporating walking into your daily life.
Become part of a walking group – or set one up yourself. This link will take you to the ‘Go Walking’ page of the Ramblers website. Here, you’ll be able to search for walking groups near where you live.
Get a Fitbit, or another type of step counting device. Actively counting your steps is a great way to motivate yourself to walk more. Some experts say that we should aim to get around 10,000 steps per day.
While that’s an excellent goal – and awesome if you can do it! – the reality is that many of us just don’t have enough time. Walking 2 miles is roughly 4,000 steps, and we think that’s a great figure to aim for if you’re short on time.
Skip transport. When you can and it’s safe to do so, try walking to and from your work, your home and your leisure activities instead of taking the bus, the car or a taxi.
If skipping transport isn’t appropriate for your routine, try parking further away from your destination than usual or getting off from the bus a few stops earlier.
Get out in nature. Spending time outdoors is proven to reduce anxiety levels and low mood. Walking is a great way to experience the great outdoors. The UK is blessed to be home to 15 national parks, as well as countless other beauty spots, so get your walking boots on and experience our beautiful and varied landscape.
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