Walking is considered the foundation for all exercise programs. There are so many health benefits that one can achieve from walking. It is a great form of physical activity if you want to strengthen and rejuvenate the whole body, and it helps to clear the mind. Walking outdoors also allows you to appreciate the beauty of your neighborhood as you build your core strength.
Walking is a critical component of our daily routine, yet we don’t get to do this activity as much as we need to because of our modern lives. While a lot of us are mostly sitting at our office desk for long hours every working day, people from indigenous cultures walk an average of 20 kilometers every single day. And our grandparents and great grandparents definitely walked far more distances compared to us. Bottom line is, we are simply not walking enough.
Walking Makes You Stronger
Recent studies show that our ligaments and discs develop during our childhood and adolescent years, and they continue to maintain their strength when one performs regular weight bearing exercises. At present, physios have observed that more and more people are suffering injuries to ligaments, tendons, discs, and other cartilage type structures. One of the reasons for such is our sedentary lifestyle. If only these people add walking to their daily routines, then these elements would be strengthened and injuries will be prevented.
Health Benefits of Walking Every Day
Fortunately, it is never too late to start a walking program and yes, the best time is now! Several recent studies show that walking for thirty minutes five times a week can result to so many health benefits, including the following:
• Enhances muscle tone
• Helps to maintain body weight
• Lowers the risk of obesity
• Helps manage symptoms of chronic low back pain
• Improves mood and alleviates stress and tension
• Improves blood lipid profile
• Improves bone density (10,000 steps recommended per day to prevent osteoporosis)
• Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease
• Lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes
• Reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer
• Reduces the risk of age-related glaucoma
Baby Steps, Baby
Some people may not be totally excited to start walking, and that is alright. A lot of physiotherapy patients suffering from pain or injury are hesitant to start a walking program because of fear. But the important thing is to start walking. For some people, they see this activity as something that would take up a large chunk of your already busy schedule. But there are many ways to inject walking into your routine.
For instance, if you happen to have a toddler, then you can start a morning stroll, hitting two birds with one stone. You get to have your much needed exercise and your toddler gets their fresh air and sunshine. If you happen to have a dog instead, then that’s great, too! Dogs need to walk every day as much as we do.
Regular walking can add years and years to your life. A recent research study conducted by the European Society of Cardiology observed 69 people aged 30 to 60 years old, and found that daily moderate exercise, like a thirty-minute walk, can add three to seven years to one’s life. So, if you want to live a healthier life for a longer time, start walking today!
Tim Ellis is the Principal Physiotherapist at Excel Physiotherapy and Wellness in Mascot, New South Wales, Australia. He specialises in treating complex necks and backs and developing highly effective exercise programs for his patients. Tim is committed to integrative health, healthy eating, exercise, and life long learning which he shares through his blogs.