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Walking For Fitness

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Walking is often overlooked as a beneficial and comparable exercise that offers many outstanding health benefits whether it's incorporated into a current fitness routine or as a stand-alone exercise. There is no shortage of scientific research to back up the effectiveness and long list of benefits of walking for fitness.

The beauty of it is that people who are mobile, already know how to walk. There is no time needed to learn how. Feeling comfortable with your form and ability to know how to properly execute an exercise movement will make it that much easier to stick with it. It can be done anytime and anywhere. There are no special gym memberships or training required to reap the benefits of walking.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who stuck with a regular walking program showed noteworthy and positive progress with a lower resting heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. The far-reaching benefits go well beyond heart health.

Physical Benefits

  • Longer life: The American Cancer Society found that adults that walk 6 hours per week had a lower risk of dying from diseases like cancer.

  • Stronger muscles: Walking uses a considerable amount of muscle groups in your body that include calves, glutes, quads, hips, and the core. With a moderate pace or inclines, the core, leg, and back muscles are strengthened.

  • Calorie burning: According to the Mayo Clinic, 30 minutes of moderate walking per day will burn an additional 150 calories per day.

  • Better quality sleep: If you take your walk outside in the daylight, the natural sunlight helps create a circadian rhythm which equates to healthy sleep patterns.

  • Improve joints: Because walking is a low-impact sport, the act of walking keeps the joints mobile and flexible and will reduce the chances of osteoporosis.

  • Cardio health: The simple act of walking will get your heart pumping and blood flowing. Regular exercise improves heart health, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. With all those things in check, your heart will thank you.

As if all the physical benefits weren't enough to head outside for an evening stroll, the mental benefits are just as impactful.

Walking will help to:

  • Keep cognitive function longer: Typical fading of cognitive functions considered typical for aging has been shown to be prevented by walking, which preserves the brain's memory functions. Cultivates creativity: Stanford University published a study that touts walking as a way to boost creative gains by 60 percent. Walking allows a freeing of the mind and free flow of thoughts and ideas that scientists call divergent thinking.

  • Mood Builder: According to WebMD, “walking helps boost your mood by increasing blood flow and blood circulation to the brain and body. It has a positive influence on your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is your central nervous response system. This is good because the HPA axis is responsible for your stress response.”

  • Stress less: Because walking is not typically as laborious as other fitness plans, cortisol, the stress hormone, can level out. Katie Bressack, a board-certified holistic nutritionist and yoga instructor in Los Angeles “The cool thing is that studies have found stress hormones are greatly reduced just after a 20-minute walk.”

  • Anxiety Reduction: Even a 10-minute walk can relieve the symptoms of anxiety such as feeling on edge, difficulty focusing, and irritability.

For all the non-runners that proudly quip, “I’m only running if I'm being chased.” This news is for you. Still not convinced that walking is a comparable exercise to complete your fitness routine? This news is for you too.

Researchers from the National Library of Medicine discovered that the energy used for moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease over the study's six-year period when comparing the results of the most recent National Runners' Health Study with the National Walkers' Health Study. Basically, this means moderate walking can be just as effective as running. In many cases, walking for fitness is recommended and the preferred form of exercise. Those that suffer from back, knee, and ankle problems or are obese benefit greatly from walking due to the fact it is a low-impact form of exercise.

Walking is always an excellent form of exercise for anyone and adds physical and mental benefits whether it is a solo form of exercise or incorporated into a structured fitness routine.

fitness and physiology experts say every type of exerciser can benefit from adding more walks to their daily routine. At Liftology, we create custom programs to fit your abilities and work to help you reach your goals, but we will never overlook the benefits a good walk can add to your overall health and well-being. Schedule a two-week trial with us today and let's start your fitness journey together where you become the healthiest version of yourself.

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