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Walk Your Way to Health and Vitality

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Walk Your Way to Health and Vitality
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Often the simplest things are overlooked, and this is certainly true in fitness. Walking, an everyday activity that is often done unconsciously and without much thought, could provide you with the means of dramatically improving your wellbeing. Sounds too good to be true? Read on to discover the incredible benefits of walking on your physical and emotional health, and helpful tips on how to incorporate it into your busy lifestyle.

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Walk for Your Body

Though walking is not considered a sport, it nonetheless provides your body with a gentle yet effective workout. It can be done at any age, and whatever your level of fitness. There’s no need to sign up for expensive gym memberships, buy special clothing, or learn how to use complicated equipment. It’s the simplest exercise there is!

There are hundreds of scientific studies proving that walking is an excellent way to get started on your journey to a healthier body. Here are some of the most note-worthy benefits:

  • Lowers blood sugar levels [1], making it a fantastic exercise for anyone with type 2 diabetes.
  • Promotes healthy weight loss and helps with weight control. [2]
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease [3].
  • Lowers blood pressure [4].
  • Increases bone density and helps prevent osteoporosis [5].

A Stronger Immune System

But that’s not all! Moderate exercise, such as walking, may also help boost the immune system, both by increasing the circulation of white blood cells in the body and slowing down the release of stress hormones which are known to increase the chances of infection[6]. Protect yourself from illnesses by taking a walk.

Better Appetite Control

If you find yourself often craving snacks, walking may help you to control your hunger. Indeed, a study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that exercise encourages the release of an appetite suppressing hormone while decreasing the release of a hormone that promotes hunger[7]. If you take a walk at lunchtime, you may find yourself not craving that afternoon snack!

Burning Calories with Walking

The exact amount of calories burnt during walking will depend on the speed at which you walk, and the terrain. For an average speed of 3 to 4 miles per hour, an adult weighing 75kg will burn 90 calories for every mile walked, whereas an adult weighing 100kg will burn 120 calories. It doesn’t matter if you start slower than this, over time your fitness will improve and you will be able to increase your speed.

Walk for Your Mind

Walking isn’t just good for your body, it’s been proven to be an effective mood booster. A review of scientific studies published in the Journal of Mental Health and Physical Activity found that walking is an effective tool in the treatment of depression[8]. By increasing the brain’s production of serotonin, exercise can lead to increased feelings of emotional wellbeing[9].

Use your walking time to clear and quieten your mind. By paying attention to your surroundings, the sights and sounds around you, you can detach from whatever may be causing you stress. A walk can be meditative, a time to be mindful, to breathe and simply enjoy the movement of your body.

Tips and Tricks

Make time for your walk — whether you decide to walk in the morning, afternoon or evening, plan ahead. Thinking about when you will walk and planning your itinerary ahead of time helps to set the intention and makes it more likely you will stick to your decision.

Take a healthy snack — if you’re planning a longer stroll, take a wholesome snack to enjoy half way through or after you’ve completed your walk. Nuts or fruit are good options, as they will provide healthy protein and carbohydrates to refuel and sustain your body.

Carry a bottle of water — muscles that aren’t properly hydrated don’t perform as well, and it’s important to replenish the fluids lost through sweating. Make sure you drink plenty of water during your walk.

Step to the beat — plug in your MP3 player and go! Faster beats will help you speed up without noticing, and your favourite songs will keep you energised and motivated.

Most importantly, enjoy it — walking should not be a chore, far from it. Really appreciate the time you’re dedicating to your health. Walk mindfully, or make the most of your fellow walkers’ company. Take in the views and vistas, and enjoy the moment.

Walk your Way to Health

Walking will improve your fitness and your health. It will help boost your immune system and lift your mood. By simply taking a walk each day, you can experience increased physical and emotional wellbeing. So why not put your walking shoes on? 

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