Health Benefits of Walking Every Day .
Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.
- It strengthens your heart…….regular walking has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers of LDL(bad) cholestrol while increasing levels of HDL ( good) cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in check.
“Anything that raises your heart rate and gets your blood pumping is a workout for your heart and circulatory system. According to the Stroke Association, walking briskly for up to 30 minutes can help prevent and control the high blood pressure that can cause strokes – reducing your risk by up to 27 per cent.
- It lowers disease risk……..As well as heart disease, a walking habit can slash your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, asthma and some cancers. A study in the British Medical Journal showed taking more steps every day can help ward off diabetes. And according to the charity Walking For Health, regular exercise such as walking could reduce risk by up to 60 per cent. Those of us who are active have around a 20 per cent lower risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast and womb than those least active.
- It keeps weight in check……“If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to burn about 600 calories a day more than you’re eating,” says Amory. “Putting one foot in front of the other is one of the easiest ways to do that.” A person weighing 60kg burns 75 calories simply by strolling at 2mph for 30 minutes. Increase that to 3mph and they’ll burn 99 calories. Speed it up to a fast walk (4mph) and that’s 150 calories – the equivalent of three Jaffa Cakes or a jam doughnut. “Walking also increases muscle mass and tone and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism – so the more calories you burn, even at rest,” he adds.
- and osteoporosis, too….“Walking counts as a weight-bearing activity,” says Amory. “It stimulates and strengthens bones, increasing their density – really important, especially for women. It also helps maintain healthy joints so may stave off conditions such as arthritis.”
- It tones your legs, bum – and tum…..A good walk can help strengthen and shape your legs, giving great definition to calves, quads, hamstrings and lifting your glutes (buttock muscles) – especially if you add hills. But if you really pay attention to your posture as you walk, it can tone your abs and whittle your waist, too.
- Let’s not forget your arms….“Your speed when walking comes from your arms,” says Hall. “Hold them at a comfortable level, bent at the elbow, and swing them backwards and forwards as you walk. Swing them faster and you’ll automatically speed up. And all this movement tones your arms, shoulders and upper back.” Bye bye, bingo wings!
- It boosts your vitamin D levels……If you’re walking outside in daylight, you’ll be boosting your body’s stores of vitamin D – a nutrient that’s hard to get from food, but that we can synthesise from exposure to sunlight. Many people in the UK are deficient in vitamin D and it’s a nutrient that plays a big role in everything from bone health to immunity. While sun safety is still important (see www.sunsmart.org.uk), experts agree that exposing as much skin as you can to the sun, little and often and without burning, will help you to produce sufficient vitamin D.
- It gives you energy….It might seem like a paradox (and the last thing you might feel like) but a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. It wakes up stiff joints and eases muscle tension so you feel less sluggish. Always have a mid-afternoon energy slump at work? Head out for a walk at lunchtime instead of sitting in a café or at your desk and see what a difference it makes.