Fitness walking is one of the healthiest weight loss exercises
Fitness walking is not only the easiest physical activity anyone can do. It is also a beneficial exercise to promote weight loss and improve endurance and performance. You may not know, but walking can also help:
1. Improve brain function
As you age, your risk of developing dementia (memory impairment) and other brain disorders increases. But regular walking can prevent the onset of destructive processes in the brain and even slow down aging. For example, according to one neuroscience study in 69 people aged 55 to 88 years, walking as a physical exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Want to improve your brain’s cognitive performance even more? Try walking in the opposite direction. A study in Holland showed that walking backwards can help you think faster and control your limbs. In this case, the involvement of specific areas of the brain develops general coordination, spatial orientation, and increases the speed of thought processes.
2. Strengthen bones
Walking is also beneficial in helping to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis (a disease of bone wasting). Research shows that women who walked for at least 4 hours a week had a 40% reduction in their risk of hip fractures.
Of course, more vigorous forms of exercise, such as running, jumping, and weightlifting, also help maintain bone health. But walking turns out to be an equally effective method in this regard. This is great news for those just starting out, who enjoy workouts that don’t raise their heart rate significantly, and of course, those who love walking.
3. Improve your mood
If you’re having a tough day, the best thing you can do to get rid of bad thoughts is to go for a walk. Numerous studies in this area show that walking as a physical activity can reduce stress levels and improve mood.
It is even better if you have the opportunity to take a walk in nature. Walking in the fresh air near green spaces has been shown to help reduce feelings of frustration and even immerse the brain in a state of meditation.
4. Increase blood circulation
Regular physical activity in the form of walking has a positive effect on heart function. The benefits of walking are to improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of stroke. At the same time, only 30 minutes of walking a day can have a constructive effect on the work of the heart and circulatory system – you must admit that this is a moderate feasible load in order to stay healthy for a long time.
5. Strengthen the muscles of the lower body
As we age, the muscles in the lower leg area weaken, which can lead to a loss of body balance. Therefore, regular walking is very important to help prevent bruises and falls that can occur in old age.
Regular walking can help improve body balance by strengthening the lower legs. At the same time, walking with an accentuated roll from heel to toe further contributes to the development of the muscles of the foot. This prevents the development of shuffling and thus reduces the risk of falls.
6. Improve memory
Can’t remember where you put the keys? Regular walks support the effective functioning of the hippocampus, a part of the brain’s limbic system involved in the mechanisms of verbal memory, learning, attention retention, and the transition of short-term memory to long-term memory.
A study conducted among women aged 65 and over showed that age-related memory loss was less common in those who were more likely to walk.
7. Reduce symptomatic arthritis pain
Acute conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia are known to cause unpleasant musculoskeletal pain, joint aches, malaise, and weakness. In turn, daily walking can reduce pain and other symptoms of these diseases.
Moderate walking time and intensity should be sufficient to improve the functioning of the musculoskeletal system. However, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
8. Normalize blood glucose levels
Walking can improve blood glucose levels at any time of the day or night. But walking right after a meal works even better. For example, one study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that taking a short 15-minute walk immediately after a meal was as effective in lowering blood sugar as a 45-minute walk at any other time of the day.
9. Strengthen immunity
Walking daily helps the body to resist disease more resiliently by strengthening the immune system. Regular exercise also helps maintain a healthy weight, which in turn reduces the risk of developing diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.
10. Improve sleep
The benefits of walking are undeniable for those suffering from insomnia. After a long walk, the process of falling asleep is much faster and calmer. Morning walks in the fresh air are especially beneficial, as exposure to daylight helps to stay in harmony with natural bio-rhythms.