If you’re like me, you may keep pushing away your walking exercise goals for one reason or another. You blame the time, the day, the cost, or basically everything. What if I told you that walking for exercise is a powerful, inexpensive exercise that you can start on right away? That would be great, right? Well, here are the 5 top benefits of walking, including weight loss. These benefits should energize you to get out your comfortable pair of walking shoes and do just that–take a brisk walk!
As many of you know from following DIY Home & Garden, I got serious about my WW program last year. Once I set my mind to adding daily walking to my routine, I dropped over 70 pounds in about seven months. In fact, after I began walking, I added in jogging–and then running.
Since then, I have run two 5k races. And, I placed first place in my age category in BOTH competitions. So the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other one worked miracles for me.
I know. The struggle with the pain of exercising is real. Many of us begin to develop small aches, pains, and inflammation due to weight gain and age. Exercise is still a must, no excuses! The trick here is to find the right intensity of exercise, under the care of your doctor. For many of us, that activity means long brisk walks…daily!
5 Best Benefits of Walking for Your Exercise
Take a look at the reasons you should get in that daily walk–other than just weight loss.
1 – You Will Feel Younger
Who doesn’t like meeting with someone they last saw some time back, and they exclaim, “You look sooooo much younger than when I last saw you!”
Walking every day for about 30 minutes helps to tone your muscles. It also helps in improving your posture. This makes you look and feel younger. The next time you want to put off your walking exercise, just visualize the years literally rolling off your face and body!
So just remember… You’ll look younger and feel better with regular exercise.
2 – Improves Blood Circulation
Walking helps improve blood circulation throughout your body, from head to toe. Proper circulation of blood ensures the good functioning of all body parts. One of the causes of hurting feet may be due to inadequate blood flow, mainly due to physical inactivity. Improved blood circulation will reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and peripheral artery disease, which is caused by poor flow of blood to the legs.
Combined with a healthy diet, walking will improve your blood circulation and fight heart disease.
3 – Melts the Fat Away
A sedentary lifestyle is the numero uno cause of child and adult obesity. Walking when undertaken as exercise and consistently helps in weight loss because it assists in burning calories.
The weight loss is mainly around the midsection because it helps in the proper use of insulin and aids in digestion. Thus, you can fend off poor health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and even shortness of breath by dropping those pounds.
If you are feeling all-bloated up after that heavy dinner, instead of giving in to temptation and lying down on that couch, take a walk around the block. Your stomach will thank you for it! As for your weight, you won’t have to hide from your favorite pair of jeans again.
4 – Increases Creativity
You have an issue you need to mull over, and your mind seems bogged down? No worry, take that walk. During a stroll, your brain calms down and is not threatened by pressure, fear, or feelings of hopelessness. The coordination needed between your body and mind enables your brain to focus on an issue and to think it over. This will help you to put the problems in perspective. You will also be able to come up with creative ways to address whatever was weighing you down.
Even better than a treadmill–walk outdoors whenever the weather permits. There’s something inherently soothing about feeling the breeze on your skin and hearing the sweet songbirds as you get fit.
5 – Improves Your Mood
There are days when your mood swings take their toll on you. These are the days when people want to avoid you like the plague. You may even start avoiding yourself if it were possible!
Regular walking for exercise has been known to help in improving moods. This is achieved through increased blood circulation to the brain, which boosts endorphins, those hormones which make you feel good. Have you ever heard a jogger mention a runner’s high? These hormones are responsible for the rush of the feel-goods you get after exercise.
To take advantage of this boost, ensure you take up walking as a regular exercise. You will increase your happiness and feel more confident!
How to Get Started Walking for Exercise
1 – Get clearance from your doctor
If you are far out of shape, start any exercise by chatting with your primary care physician. He or she can make specific recommendations about how much training your body can take in its current condition. And, they will likely take a baseline reading of your vitals.
As you become fitter, they will enjoy reassessing you and sharing your improvements.
2- Sneakers or walking shoes
Fortunately, it’s effortless to get started on a walking program. Unless you want to invest in a treadmill, all you need is a good pair of walking shoes. Look for sneakers with excellent arch support and some cushioning in the heel. Also, ensure you wear shoes with sturdy treads for grip on wet and rainy days.
3 – Water bottle
While you’re walking, you’ll want to stay well-hydrated. Skip the disposable plastic bottles and opt for a refillable bottle that will keep your water cold in the warmer temperatures.
4 – Treadmill
Do you reside in a wet, snowy, or cold climate? Then, you might choose to purchase a treadmill. These can be very pricey, but you don’t need all the bells and whistles. While it’s fun to have the added features, keep in mind the main goal–walking!
Find a model that offers basic stats, or use your fitness watch to keep track of your progress.
These are the top 5 benefits that should motivate enough to spur you into starting a regular walking routine. One thing I have learned in life is that tomorrow never comes. Come on, get up right now, and try this out yourself. Be disciplined enough and set aside time daily for that walk.
Set goals for yourself and be accountable for reaching those milestones. These benchmarks can be weight loss or health-related benchmarks–depending on your desired outcome.
To stay motivated, you can invite a friend along or form a support group. Incorporate walking exercise into your life daily. Walk to work or while doing some errands. Just walk!