Walk and work it out!

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Zumba, pilates, yoga and the classic treadmill get all the attention when it comes to popular ways of staying healthy. There is, however, a more simpler workout which provides all the benefits as any of the above without the equipment or trainers required that is a good nice walk. Physical activity need not always be complicated.

 

Know the benefits

Regular walking helps you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight – Helps improve our body’s response to insulin, which helps reduce belly fat. It increases metabolism by burning extra fat and reducing muscle loss which is important as we grow older.
  • Improve mood – The brain releases feel-good endorphins which reduce stress and anxiety. Works as good as that glass of wine or a bar of chocolate.
  • Improves circulation – Regular exercise improves circulation, thereby effectively reducing blood pressure
  • Eases joint pain – Protects the joints by lubricating them and also preventing arthritis. (1)
  • Vitamin D source – Perfect way to get fresh air along with a vitamin D fix. If you’re walking in the day, minimum 20 mins is an adequate source.
  • Post-eating – Walking for 30 minutes after a meal stimulates metabolism and aids in the process of digestion preventing heartburn and digestion. Faster metabolism also speeds ups the process of weight loss (2)

 

Walk the right way

Here’s how you should look while walking:

  • Head up, looking forward
  • Neck, shoulders and back relaxed
  • Arms swinging freely
  • Back straight, neither too forward nor backwards.
  • Roll your foot from heel to toe
  • Warm up – Start slowly till the breath quickens
  • Cool down – Reserve last 5-10 minutes to help the muscles cool down.

 

Power walking for weight loss

This is a fast-paced walk, which burns the same amount of calories while you are running (3) or jogging. For this, you need to keep a brisk pace at moderate or high intensity.(4)

 

How much should you walk?

According to fitness experts, one should walk for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, if not more. However if you’re in 40s or above take ample of rest in between. Slow down in the midst and increase pace again.

 

Apart from using it as a workout, walking also acts as a leisure activity, an excellent mood lifter and makes us connect with the environment (think green!) So why not make it a permanent part of our schedules?

 

There’s not much a little stroll can’t fix.

 

References:

  1. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/walking/wow-of-walking.php
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3119587/
  3. An average 60 kg person at a speed of 8 kmph for 30 minutes will lose approx. 260 kcal,
  4. High intensity walking is one in which the heartbeat increases from the normal rate and breathing becomes laboured.

Image Courtesy: freeimages.com (Daniela Corno)

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