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Health Benefits of Walking: Why You Should Take a Walk for a Healthy Lifestyle

The health benefits of walking are numerous beyond the expected it being a cheap (no gym memberships needed), accessible (no club memberships needed) and easy (no need for a personal trainer) cardio exercise. A brisk short walk daily is recommended by doctors as a healthy habit, that not only provides good cardiovascular exercise but also carries other advantages such as being  free and devoid of many health risks.

simple activities like walking your dog as this woman in this picture should help one reap the health benefits of walking

In the 21st century, all you need really to start reaping the benefits of ambulation is the fortitude to remember to pick the healthy options at critical times e.g the staircase over the elevator/ escalator. I have come to find that with a fitbit, it becomes quite enjoyable meeting ones daily walking targets.

Health Benefits Of Walking : Heart and Body

Though jogging appears to be the more popular exercise, those who have tried jogging will bear testimony that some degree of self drive is needed. Doctors on the other hand will tell you that there is evidence pointing towards the increased likelihood of developing arthritis of the knee joint especially if jogging is done improperly. Since jogging is a high impact exercise, even when it is done while considering appropriate precautions such as wearing well fitting comfortable jogging attire, the link to the possibility of developing arthritis of the large joints of the lower limb including the commoner hip joint arthritis is real.

Update: Havard health points to clinical trials that suggest that jogging might be protective to recreational runners, a phenomenon that might be attributable to their lower weight.

A brisk 20-30 minute walk done daily when augmented with dietary discipline will result in healthy beneficial weight loss. Walking is also helpful as a lifestyle modification measure crucial in the holistic management of lifestyle diseases like diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure. Early optimal management of these disease helps ward off the development of complications of these diseases such as eye problems that may lead to blindness, heart failure and fatal heart attacks.

Health Benefits Of Walking : Mind

Advances made in a field of psycotherapy, ecotherapy in particular, point towards additional health benefits of walking. Ecotherapy is a relatively new approach to psychology that occupies itself with the link between mental health and nature. Therapists who practice ecotherapy swear by the observable improvements that they have seen in a host of their patients suffering from a host of mental health conditions that range from, anxiety, stress, depression and even drug abuse. Critics of ecotherapy point towards prevalent under regulation and the absence of enough large scale studies providing a scientific basis for this form of psychotherapy.

An encounter with nature is said to slow your hear rate, make one calmer and encourages one to deal with their anxieties head on as it forces one to deal with their immediate environment. Talking a stroll in the park, along country roads, nature trails or gardens away from human and car traffic is one way of reaping these health benefits as championed by the study of ecopsychology. Talking a walk in the natural world also clears the mind as the interaction of the mind and nature helps improve your attention, concentration and memory

Things and Tips To Consider When Taking Up The Healthy Habit Of Walking

  • Inform your family or friend on the route you are going to take when walking for safety purposes.
  • Avoid deserted routes and crime hot spots. Do adequate prior research on the route you intend on taking
  • carry a means of communicating to enable you call for help when in danger
  • Involve your partner and family as it will also benefit them health wise. Nothing beats working out together as a couple! Loads of benefits from in between the sheets to saving money for your dreams.
  • Change your route often to fresh up things a bit and to deter stalkers and other ill meaning individuals who may take advantage of your predictability.
  • Take your dog along if you own one
  • When talking a stroll in the natural world, avoid listening to your i-pod. The aim is to interact with nature.¬† Don’t hesitate to stop and watch the birds, insects and trees.
  • Develop a hobby that may enrich your walking experience such as photography.
  • Invest in a comfortable pair of walking shoes. High heels and office wear may do more harm than good.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and carry water for re-hydration especially in hot conditions.
  • If the aim is to loose weight and in cases of lifestyle modifications in the management of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, the pace of the walk should be brisk. Just fast enough to break a sweat
  • Drop the car for simple chores like grabbing something in your neighborhood supermarket and walk.
  • Pick the time for your walk carefully. I enjoy my walks in the evening as a way of winding down the day. Others might find a morning walk revitalizing as part of the pick me up morning routine. Carefully consider the time for walking to be, and remain enjoyable.

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