A World Health Organization report on global physical activity revealed that more than a quarter of the world’s adult population is insufficiently active. Around one in three women and one in four men do not perform enough physical activity to stay healthy, and the report saw no improvement in global levels of physical activity since 2001. This poses huge risks to the health of people of all ages because sedentary behaviors can lead to obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
However, exercising doesn’t need to be hard. If you’re not athletic but want to engage in physical activity, walking might be the exercise routine for you:
Benefits of Walking
Walking provides various health benefits. It can strengthen your bones and muscles, increase your energy levels, and even prevent you from having heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, it can help you reach your weight-loss goals. If you want to lose weight without performing strenuous physical exercises, try walking 10,000 steps a day, and you’ll see that it is as effective as doing five 30-minute workouts a week. This shows that you can have walking as your workout routine and still get the health benefits of a full exercise workout.
Walking is also advantageous for your weight loss or fitness journey because consistently walking means you will store less fat in your body. This is because the calories eaten by someone who gets 10,000 steps a day are used by the body to fuel key body systems instead of remaining as stored fat inside the body. Evidence also showed that habitual exercisers are better at handling inevitable periods of excess eating during events and holidays like Thanksgiving Day without gaining too much weight.
Another benefit of walking as an exercise is it improves your brain’s performance. Dr. Scott McGinnis shared that exercise boosts your memory and thinking skills directly and indirectly. It acts directly on the body by stimulating physiological changes that affect the growth of new blood vessels in the brain. Moreover, exercise can indirectly boost memory and thinking by improving mood and sleep and reducing stress and anxiety. Since these problems frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment, reducing these stressors through exercise will improve your brain performance.
Walking Tips To Help You Get Started
- Prepare Your Walking Gear
Although walking seems like an easy exercise, it doesn’t mean you should not prepare and plan for it. Start this step by preparing your walking gear. Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel, and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. In choosing your clothes, wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes that are appropriate for all types of weather. If you’re going to walk during the daytime, remember to put on sunscreen and wear a hat or sunglasses to protect yourself. If you plan to walk during nighttime, wear bright colors or reflective tape for visibility.
- Get Creative With Your Exercise Options
If you’re away from home and your exercise equipment, you can still find ways to exercise and keep your body active. Our previous article shared that one way to stay fit on the road is by getting creative and maximizing your surroundings. If you’re staying in a hotel, use the stairs instead of the elevator. Most hotels also have gym facilities and equipment like treadmills that you can use for free. If you’re sightseeing, choose to walk to nearby areas instead of riding public transportation to get some mileage while doing some exploring. With this, you can move and stretch your body while peacefully admiring the scenery.
- Track Your Progress
Lastly, keeping track of how many steps you took, the distance you walked, and how long it took can help you see where you are now to when you initially started. For instance, seeing that you’re finally hitting 15,000 steps from your initial 5,000 during your first week will make you feel proud of your fitness journey. This will also be a good source of motivation for you to consistently hit your goal or even surpass your current record. Since there are various activity trackers available on mobile devices, it’s easy to record your walking activities every day and evaluate your progress at the end of the week.