- Date : 05/10/2019
- Read: 7 mins
World Walking Day is a great time to learn about the numerous benefits of walking for your physical, mental and financial health.
What are some of the good habits you learned as a child that are now a part of your daily routine? Taking a bath every morning? Brushing your teeth twice a day? Sleeping for 8 hours every night? While we may struggle on some busy days to do these things, on others, it's a no-brainer. On this World Walking Day, you must add another good habit to this list – walking for 30 minutes daily. It goes a long way in looking after your health and wealth.
Walking has a host of physical and mental health benefits, and more and more people are making an effort to incorporate it into their lifestyle. Not convinced? Here are the top health benefits of walking daily:
1. Better heart health
Walking daily increases your cardiovascular fitness and significantly reduces the risk of heart diseases and strokes. It also regulates your blood pressure and helps lower cholesterol as well.
2. Improves blood circulation
Brisk walking for 30 minutes is enough to get your blood pumping and goes a long way in improving your blood circulation. It also helps the heart supply the needed amount of oxygen and glucose to the brain and helps it function better.
3. Helps in weight loss
If burning calories is your goal, walking is classic cardio and the best way to start your weight loss journey. Walking for weight loss is easier than high-intensive workouts but it is just as effective. It also helps reduce belly fat by improving your body's response to insulin. Over time, you will see an increase in your stamina as walking also improves your lung capacity.
4. Strengthens bones and muscles
As you age, your bones tend to become weaker, and you lose muscle mass. Brisk walking regularly is one of the best things you can do for your bones and your muscles. Walking helps retain bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis, fractures and arthritis. It also tones and strengthens your muscles.
5. Improves digestion
Walking after dinner or lunch is a great idea as it helps improve digestion and avoids bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and gastrointestinal discomfort. It also helps improve your bowel movements and lowers the risk of colon cancer.
6. Reduces stress
Out of all the benefits of walking, this one is perhaps the least known. Walking boosts energy, reduces fatigue and helps your brain feel calmer. Brisk walking helps produce endorphins, the feel-good hormones and helps alleviate your mood. It also increases productivity and creativity while also improving your memory.
7. Prevention and management of diabetes
Whether you're a diabetic, a pre-diabetic or someone who wants to keep this chronic disease far away, brisk walking daily is the way to go. Walking reduces blood sugar levels and improves insulin production, thereby helping to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.
A healthier mind and body are important benefits of walking, but it doesn't stop there. Walking regularly has several financial benefits as well:
1. Reduces medical bills
The age-old saying, ''health is wealth'' holds quite true. Walking daily helps you prevent a plethora of diseases and maintains your overall health. With the steadily increasing healthcare costs, 30 minutes of brisk walking daily can save you an unimaginable amount of money!
2. Saves money on transportation
People in metro cities end up spending a lot on daily commute without even realising it. Whether it is walking to the nearest train station for work or to that café to meet your friends, walking short distances will save a lot of money. It will also save you a lot of time as well.
3. Makes gym memberships avoidable
The best part about walking is you don't need any fancy gym membership or special equipment. You can just put on your shoes and head out of your house at any time of the day.
4. Helps lower your travel budget
Seasoned travellers know just how cost-effective walking can be when you're in a new city. Exploring a new city is best done on foot; it's a whole different experience that cannot be enjoyed if you travel in a cab.
Tips to motivate yourself to walk daily
- Wear a pedometer
A pedometer, like Fitbit, is essentially a walking distance tracker that can motivate you to walk more. The best pedometers for walking and running offline monitor your movement by counting the steps you take. Walking apps like Walking Mate help with the same. For health benefits, you should walk 10,000 steps or more daily.
- Make walking a pleasure
Whether it's walking with a friend or family member, walking your pet or joining a walking club, make it a fun activity. You can also frequently change your walking routes to mix it up. Listening to an audiobook, a podcast or your favourite playlist when you walk will also help motivate you.
- Adopt a comfortable intensity
Walking as daily exercise doesn't mean you have to push yourself to the point of being drenched in sweat, especially when you're starting out. Always walk at a pace that you find comfortable.
- Make it a part of your routine
Ban elevators and only use the staircase. Whenever you get a call, stand up and take it walking. When making plans with friends, meet up at a park or at the beach and walk while catching up.
Things to remember
- Break the 30 minutes up, if you must. Even if you walk for 10 minutes thrice a day or for 15 minutes twice a day, that's okay. This may not be as effective if you're walking for weight loss, but other than that it does the job.
- Ideally, you must first start with a distance, say 2 km, as your goal. Then, no matter how long it takes, you must meet your goal. Over time, you'll notice it takes you lesser and lesser time as your stamina builds.
- A healthy person will take approximately 10 minutes to walk 1 km, while athletes tend to take 5 minutes or less. Someone who is not physically fit may take 12 to 15 minutes. This will give you a good idea where you're at fitness-wise.
- Don't forget to warm up before you start walking and stretch once you're done. You can warm up by walking slowly at the beginning.
- If you miss one or two days when you're having a busy time at work or otherwise, you shouldn't let that demotivate you and give up. Missed days don't nullify your progress, and as long as you get back to walking, that's what matters.
Walking regularly seems worth it now as well as doable, right? This World Walking Day make a commitment to a better life and walk your way to good health and wealth.
Also, take this quiz to check if you are living a healthy life or not?