Walk Your Way to Health

Out of all the physical workouts essential to remain fit and fine, walking comes as one of the most basic ones. From simple casual walking to brisk walks and jogging, this rhythmic movement of legs not only keeps one’s blood flow and activity regulated but also exposes him to the fresh environment around. The essentiality of walk is considered as boon for a Diabetic patient and a natural digestive method. Let’s find out some more benefits of walking and why one should walk as much as possible.


Walking (Image source: morgueFile.com)

Benefits of Walking For a Healthy Body

Atherosclerosis Protection

Walking provides beneficial effects for individuals suffering from Atherosclerosis.  This condition occurs due to blockage of arteries caused by plaque build-up, on the inner wall of the arteries on organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys and legs. This condition restricts blood flow and interferes with the circulation.


Blood Circulation Enhancement

Walking improves blood circulation in the body resulting inadequate supply of oxygen to the body cells and tissues.


Benefits of Walking for Blood Pressure Control

Sphygmomanometer or blood pressure meter

Sphygmomanometer (Image source: sxc.hu)

According to experts, walking for 30 minutes thrice, a week is a proven way to control high blood pressure levels.  While walking there is an increase in systolic blood pressure, which makes the blood vessels relax and dilate leading to a significant improvement in blood flow.  This often results in a further drop of diastolic blood pressure.


Benefits of Walking for Cholesterol Management

Certain amount of cholesterol is required to maintain optimum health and for building up the cell membranes. However, excessive blood lipids particularly in the form of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) prove harmful providing greater risk for cardiac problems.  Nevertheless, good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) that gets rid of excess fats from the blood stream, in insufficient quantities may also prove harmful.  Therefore, walking helps maintain healthy balance of cholesterol levels.


Blood Sugar Regulation


Diabetes (Image: sxc.hu)

According to Research, brisk walking helps improve Body Mass Index (BMI) of diabetics with high blood sugar levels.  Besides this, walking also improves blood sugar levels due to proper utilisation of insulin in the body.  Insulin resistance is the main precursor to diabetes even for individuals with normal blood sugar levels.  Therefore, to avoid risk for those with a family history and to control blood sugar levels brisk walking or some vigorous activity on a regular basis may augment insulin sensitivity.


Benefits of Walking for Heart

Brisk short walks of 20 to 25 minutes, improve the efficiency of the heart, warding off life threatening cardiac ailments.  This is because walking aids in lowering the workload of the heart enabling proper supply of oxygen to the heart, thus preventing angina.  Ensuring a smooth flow of blood, walking prevents the occurrence of atherosclerosis and ischemia, which is a condition by way of improper blood flow to the heart, resulting in blocked arteries and partly damaged cardiac muscle. Individuals who have undergone bypass surgery or recuperating from an attack can immensely benefit from taking regular walks in order to prevent the occurrence of another attack.


Stroke Prevention

According to researchers from the University of South Carolina, brisk walking for 30 minutes, five times a week, helped reduce risk of stroke. In addition, individuals with a fitness programme, involving brisk walks, had 40% less chances of suffering a stroke than those who were not so physically active.


Cancer Cure/ Prevention

Research indicates that walking helps cut down risk of certain forms of cancer.  According to a journal published by Clinical Oncology, women who walked regularly,after being diagnosed with breast cancer, had 45% chances of survival compared to those who did not follow a regular exercise regime. Besides, a brisk walk prevents risk of colon cancer by restricting the carcinogens from coming into contact with the lining of the intestines.  Walking increases circulatory health, besides enhancing the flow of positive energy, reducing the side effects of chemotherapy largely.


Lung Capacity Improvement

A few minutes’ stroll increases the quotient of oxidation reaction in the cells. These reactions however, result in an increased demand for oxygen supply, making the lungs pump extra oxygen, improving its capacity.


Immune Health Promotion

Since walking as a form of exercise promotes circulatory health, improves oxygen supply along with an increased quotient of oxidation, it strengthens the immune system preventing diseases from invading the body.


Arthritis Prevention


Arthritis (Image: sxc.hu)

Inactivity or leading a sedentary lifestyle may result in stiff joints leading to symptoms of arthritis.  Walking is gentle on the joints, strengthening the bones, joints and muscles, preventing the onset of arthritis.


Fractures Risk Prevention

A study done on postmenopausal women suggested that women, who walked half an hour a day, were less likely to develop hip fracture.


Osteoporosis Delay

In older women, walking, apart from strengthening the bones supports the joints in the abdomen, leg and arm.  The simplest form of exercise, walking, may lower chances of Osteoporosis due to a marked reduction in the loss of bone density.


Miscarriage Impediment


Pregnancy (Image source: sxc.hu)

Regular walking may be beneficial for expectant mothers despite a host of changes taking place within the body caused by erratic hormone levels. Walking also, helps prevent gestational diabetes, which is one of the most common occurrences in expectant mothers.  Besides, it relieves fatigue and protects uterine contractions often resulting in spontaneous abortions, which occurs normally due to hormonal changes in the body.


Benefits of Walking for Healthy and Glowing Skin

Since walking improves blood circulation, balances hormones and offers anti ageing benefits, it helps keep the skin healthy, soft and glowing, devoid of acne, pimples, wrinkles and fine lines, promoting a naturally healthy radiance.


Hair Growth Increase

Since walking helps balance hormones, it has great impact on hair growth.  It helps arrest hair loss and improves hair growth.


Benefits of Walking For a Healthy Mind

Brain Function Enhancement

Regular walking does not just stop with rejuvenating the body but also the mind.  Walking accelerates blood and oxygen supply to the brain, leading to enhanced mental alertness, memory and functioning of the brain.


Depression Relief

Walking makes the natural painkilling endorphins flow through the body.  Hence depressed patients who walked for half an hour each day found that the exercise perked up their moods much faster than antidepressants.


Alzheimer’s and Dementia Prevention

Due to enhanced brain function and increased memory powers, a reasonable dose of physical activity such as walking in senior citizens, help combat the incidence of age related Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease


Stress Buster

Walking acts as an excellent stress buster, due to the release of stress hormones that help fight stress, anxiety and depression.  It works effectively as a mood booster, elevating moods, imparting a positive frame of mind.


Addiction Control

Walking helps control addictions to certain substances that are hazardous to health such as caffeine, nicotine, tobacco (read harmful effects of smoking), alcohol and drugs amongst others.


Intellectual Creativity Incitement

Since walking stimulates the connection between the left and the right side of the brain, it stimulates intellectual creativity and helps in problem solving.


Fatigue Reduction

According to certain studies, a short brisk walk proves refreshing and rejuvenating, alleviating fatigue, boosting mood and energy levels.


Sleep Promotion

Stress in day-to-day life may cause insomnia.  Therefore, to enjoy a peaceful night sleep, walking makes the best option.  A stroll before retiring to bed can relax the mind and body-inducing sleep.  Apart from inducing sound sleep, walking also promotes energy during daytime, getting rid of fatigue.


Cognitive Degeneration Prevention

According to certain findings, women above 65 years of age who walked more frequently were less prone to age related memory degeneration when compared to those who walked less.


The fountain of youth

Walking as a form of exercise promotes longevity in a person.  30 minutes brisk walk a day extends life span by 1.3 years, delaying the onset of age related mental and medical conditions. Regular walking during middle age also helped individuals ward off chronic diseases, retaining their fountain of youth.


Self confidence and well being Improvement

Walking apart from boosting a person’s health also helps release of endorphins in the brain imparting cheerfulness and a sense of well being.


Spiritual Benefits of Mindful Walking

“Walking meditation” or “Mindful Walking” which originated with the Buddhist monks has gained immense popularity in the United States.  A combination of rhythmic walking, with the basics of meditation such as breathing, concentration and relaxation techniques, this type of walking too provides similar benefits as meditation and walking.  Apart from offering a host of health and mental benefits, the greatest advantage of mindful walking is that it does not require brisk walking focusing primarily on breathing techniques.


Tips for Walking
  • Before starting on a regular programme of walking as an exercise, it is extremely vital to feel comfortable.
  • Wearing comfortable clothing paired with a right pair of shoes is highly essential.
  • Carrying a bottle of water to avoid dehydration would be beneficial.
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