By Sara El Halabi J.
Since the beginning of time, walking has been part of our human nature. Today, it is known for its benefits in improving our health and keeping us in shape. Its impact is not limited to our physical bodies. It has positive effects on our mental and emotional health too.
My parents used to take my siblings and me on early morning hikes in the fields and hills, so walking was a daily exercise in our home since I was very young. That’s where I acquired my love for this millennial workout.
You can adapt your walking to your rhythm and style, from enjoying a pleasant stroll in the neighbourhood to vigorous hiking in the forest, giving it the purpose of your preference—for fun or fitness—and still enjoy the perks it provides you.
Benefits Of Walking
The advantages of this workout are infinite. Among the most relevant are that it:
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Improves coordination and balance
- Improves your cardiovascular health and circulation
- Provides more self-confidence through your posture
- Reduces body fat, especially in the thighs and belly, and increases resistance
- Reduces the risk of heart disease, type two diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and some types of cancer
- Improves sleep and eases your mood
- Enhances your mental activity and breathing
These are only some of the benefits of walking every day. However, to get the best out of it, use these top tips!
Walk 30 Minutes Daily
Fitness experts recommend walking at least 30 minutes daily. Making walking part of your daily routine will free you of excessive body fat and stress and improve your overall health condition. If you cannot commit to a ramble just for fitness, try to substitute it with other activities, like walking to a nearby grocery shop instead of taking the car, walking your pet outside, climbing stairs instead of using the elevator, etc.
Walk At Different Intensity Levels
Before starting any fitness programme or lifestyle change, it is best to consult with your physician. They can tell you what kind of walking and workouts are best for your age and health condition. If you are in good health and want to improve your fitness, consider adopting different intensities during your walks. This way, you can burn more body fat and increase your endurance. Here are some examples:
- Walk up a hill and down again. This is good for intensity and muscle resistance.
- Walk on an uneven path that will demand you focus more and use firmer steps.
- Pick up your pace for a couple of minutes, slow down for a minute, alter your walking speed to level up the impact.
- Alternate between walking fast, jogging and walking slow.
- Walk every couple of days for a few minutes longer. This is a good tip, especially if you are new to exercising or inactive for a long time. Begin with a minimum of 20 minutes and increase till you reach an hour or an hour and a half.
Make Each Step Count
To walk correctly is to place each step in its correct position consciously. As you walk, let there be a comfortable distance between the first and second steps. Your heel must touch the floor first, then the central part of the feet and lastly, the toes. When you step correctly, you will suffer less from foot-ache after a workout, and you will achieve better results. Walking on grass or sand is still better than on concrete.
Take A Good Breath
Breathing well can help in reducing post-exercise tiredness. It will also reduce the stress during your walks and oxygenates your brain and muscles better. Inhale deeply, hold for a few seconds and exhale slowly. Each breathing cycle should take a few steps; you decide how long you want to make it as long as it is comfortable for you and the intensity of your walking.
Adopt The Right Posture
This tip is paramount when it comes to making the best out of walking. Eyes looking straight forward, chin parallel to the ground, shoulders relaxed backwards, back straight but slightly pushed forward and stepping in the right way as mentioned above. These steps will ensure you the proper posture in your natural daily movements and more self-confidence.
Extra Tip: Use The Right Shoes
Using the right walking shoes can have a significant impact on your walks. Wear light ones with midsoles made of air, gel or foam to reduce the impact of each step. The heels should not be more than an inch and cushion the Achilles tendon and secure the ankles.
With these tips, you should be able to start taking daily walks and feeling the blessing of your legs—the best tools we have to exercise and improve our health. After all, good health begins with one step at a time.