Benefits of Walking Daily Backed by Science
Walking. You have heard its healthy but what does it do for you?
Does it help you loose weight or reduce lower blood pressure?
Will you live longer?
Some questions we all battle everyday. I will dive into the benefits of the Walking Daily and what it does for you.
- Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol – walking daily helps reduction of blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat and body mass index.
- Better Memory and Brain Function – For men reduced dementia and for women better memory and cognitive function. Sedentary Individuals who started aerobics or walking scored higher on cognitive tests meant to measure dementia.
- Relieves Pain – exercise relieves chronic pain and joint pain, reduced knee arthritis
- Prevents illness and helps boost Immunity – Walking and regular exercise helps reduces catching a cold and other illness
- Creativity – Walking boosts creativity while walking and after walking as well.
- Energy Boost – Stair walking gives you more energy that caffeine
- Reduce Risk of heart Disease – Faster Paced walking lowers risk of heart disease and related issues versus slow paced walking.
- Live longer – Walking or Biking 11 hours a week reduced risk of death by 11% for all causes.
- Improves Mood – Regular exercise reduces anxiety, depression and helps elevate mood. Walking beats eating energy bars or candy bars for increasing energy and lowers tension.
- Lowers risk of Breast Cancer – 7 hours of walking per week lowered breast cancer risk by 14% in women post menopause
- Better Sleep and Lower Stress – Exercise increased total sleep time and amount of deep sleep
The First and most simple rule here is to walk daily. Even if only to walk around the house for 2 minutes.
So why such a weak goal? Well its first to get started into the habit.
You have probably heard of walking 10,000 steps each day. Well initially it may seem hard to get the step count each day, but slowly over weeks and months this becomes easily attainable. Try to use apps that will help you meet your exercise goals. I use the Google FIT App available on my phone. This keeps track of my steps count for the day as well as Heart Points.
Heart Points are fast paced walking based on your age, weight etc that you fill in the app. It prompts you for the ideal heart point score as well as steps each day to meet your goal. It really great as it shows you your weekly, monthly target achieved. In a Snapshot you can also view the calories burnt , along with Kilometres covered and Moves per minute from the app. So Google FIT is like your FITBIT. If you dance, move around etc it picks and calculates the total steps etc.
Best part of the app is when you meet your set milestone, the app lets you know. The Milestones are recommended by AHA (American Heart Association). So Simply getting these small moves done are basically habits getting set for you.
Warm Up and Stretching
Usually recommended to warm up before you do some fast paced walking. Walk slowly for a few minutes first, this works well for me. Warm up the body is important to prevent any ligament tear etc.
Also try to play some music to keep yourself motivated. I use the app Spotify. I earlier used to use You Tube Music but now switched to Spotify. This works wonders for me as I Listen to Workout beats, Top 50 Global Hits, Go by Artist or some good old Bollywood to get the pace going. Also keep a watch on the Google fit app to see if you have covered your daily step count.
How Intense should you walk? Won’t you get a better burn if you walk faster?
What about power walking or fast paced walking?
Well start with what ever is easy for you (10 minutes warm up and 20 minutes walk and run combination). Then slowly build it with time. I try to walk atleast 5 days a week and give it a break on the weekend. You can choose what ever works for you. Even a 3 or 4 day exercise is a good habit to stay fit.
Some days you may achieve your target and some days you may not, but lets not be hard on ourselves. Reward yourself for days you have achieved or look at overall monthly snapshot of your entire performance. If you need to slow it down do so or if you need to dedicate time and days of the week to increase work out, you can do that.
Walking is the best form of exercise and very flexible as you can choose the best time to walk, in between in you work day if you find 30 minutes away from office work or that meeting , just get up and walk. Its as easy as walking in your home space, use any space close by nearby community parks, basements, roads or lanes close to your home or apartment or inside the house if you have some space to do some warm up and fast paced walking.
Also the best part is you don’t need to enrol yourself for any program like a training program or gym etc. You need not worry about the subscription for that gym or pilates or yoga session, which I know a lot of my friends do worry about when they need to miss out a particular session or sessions due to family commitments or emergencies or simply delayed due to work.
All you need to ensure is that you are disciplined with yourself and focussed on what you want to achieve for a healthier YOU.
Yes a healthy and well balanced diet will definitely help but I will not focus on diet and tips for a well balanced meal in this blog.
Another tick to get you to go exercise is to purchase a pair of exercise clothes. Since my recent purchase of exercise clothes I have noticed that I have more motivation to get walking. This need not be so for everyone.
So like I said, reward yourself when you achieve your Health Goal , like for me small rewards help motivate me, a new water bottle, new exercise clothes, revised and new installed apps, hand sweat band, Sneakers, follow on You Tube your favourite Icon for health and read up articles which kept them motivated will help. Am sure you are getting the drift.. you can definitely do whatever helps motivate you to achieve your Health Goal.
Also paring up with a like minded friend, spouse, family member to stay motivated will be added bonus. So for me I keep checking with my husband and a good friend on whats are their step count and heart points for the day, which kinda give me a sense of where I stand on my step count for the day. I won’t say be competitive but sort of keeping a buddy will definitely help you stay focussed in the long run.
There is a downside to this also, incase you have chosen someone who is not consistent with their goals it can add to you giving up easily. So choose wisely.
Join a group on Social Media who are into fitness and exercise. Share and read what challenges each one face and what motivates them as that can help you in your path to achieve you fitness goal.
Make sure have appropriate running shoes and change your shoes often or keep them in a good condition.
In case you start getting bored of the routine, you can mix up running with cross training such as swimming or cycling.
Don’t let the weather get you down, incase it is raining walk indoors such as apartment exercise facilities or inside your home.
Plan several different routes and make walking/jogging a social event. Having several different routes will add variety to your walking so you won’t get bored like local parks like Cubbon park, lakes – Ulsoor lake or Sanki tank, sports arenas like Kanteerva or Hockey Stadium or nearby clubs located in your area Koramangala club, Bangalore club etc.
Challenge your self to get better at the routine of exercise. Here self discipline plays an important role. You can read and implement books on self discipline.
Another great way to go about your exercise routine is to Visualise your healthy lifestyle daily for 30 minutes in the morning. Never underestimate the power of visualisation. It definitely helps you achieve your goal.
You can also use a Habit Tracker or physical Goal Sheets to track and Tick of the days in the week when done. The feeling when something gets ticked is also a great motivator to continue on the path to achieve your target.
I hope you have found this information useful. Will leave you with one thought ” If you can find a form of exercise that you truly enjoy, there will never be a fitness goal that you can’t achieve!”
So till we meet again.
Stay healthy and happy
Resourceful Rach .