Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise. Unfortunately, not everyone goes on a regular walk. I know I am guilty of not getting enough steps in my day, but how much of an impact does walking make on your health? In reality, it does more for you than just help you burn calories. It can be an activity that boosts several aspects of your life that you might not be aware of.
How Walking Impacts Your Life
Walking is a basic activity that most people do on a regular basis. Whether it’s getting up out of bed or heading to the kitchen to make breakfast, it’s something that is done in order to get around. Here is how putting one foot in front of another benefits your health.
Walking for prolonged periods of time has potential to keep your heart rate elevated. This is signification that you’re burning calories. Your body is burning the sugars, carbs and other elements in order to create energy to prolong the activity. The more you walk, the more fat you eliminate from the body. The number of calories will be dependent on your physique, level of movement and several other personal attributes.
Strengthening Your Lower Body
Walking puts effort onto your thigh muscles in order to move about. It can also help firm the quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs and even the shoulders. Over time, you’re body becomes accustomed to the activity allowing you to go further with each walk. Your legs will strengthen from increased activity.
Increasing Your Endurance
Your endurance can affect a wide range of physical activities – even sex. Walking will help you build up a higher endurance to accomplish these activities without becoming overly winded. Depending on how out of shape you are, this could take a bit of time. However, the ends absolutely justify the means. You’ll find yourself doing specific tasks longer than you had in the past.
Elevating Your Mood
The term, “Runner’s High” doesn’t merely focus on those who can jog a 5k with ease. The more physical activity you get, the greater your endorphin level. Some studies have shown how this level of euphoria is similar to that of what marijuana smokers experience. The biggest difference is that you’re not putting anything foreign into your blood stream. This is a natural high and a biological defense against feeling pain. It’s important to note that it takes a great deal of exertion before hitting this level of “high.”
Those who suffer from various joint pains may find it easier to cope if you push through and keep walking. However, this is also dependent on the problems you’re having. In some cases, walking may actually cause more pain than it alleviates. On the other side of the coin, getting your muscles and joints moving can help strengthen them against a myriad of problems and help reduce the pain. You should seek the guidance of your physician before committing to a walking routine if you have injuries or other physical complications.
Increased Cognitive Abilities
The brain requires a balance of blood and oxygen in order to perform to optimal levels. Walking, as well as any other exercise, enhances the blood flow which can impact your ability to think and reason. Studies show that the ability to learn can be directly related to physical exercise. So, yes, sticking with a routine of regular walking could impact your intelligence scores.
The Downside to Walking
Although walking can do a lot for the human body, it can also be bad in some cases. For instance, those who suffer from arthritis or other joint complications could find it next to impossible to get this kind of activity. Walking, jogging and running are all high-impact activities and can lead to a variety of physical problems.
For example, I created metatarsal fractures on both feet when I tried to walk the 5k in 2015. Although my legs were willing, my weight put too much strain on my bones. You need to know your personal limitations and develop a routine based on what you can handle.
A way to circumvent this problem is by walking through a swimming pool. Pool jogging puts far less pressure on your feet and joints while vastly increasing the number of calories you’ll burn.
Walking more throughout your day can make a significant impact in your life. You don’t have to plan on jogging a marathon if you want to benefit from what this activity can do for you. It’s all about getting the blood flowing, heart beating and muscles moving. Set goals for yourself each month and try to surpass your previous activity. Tools such as Runkeeper can do wonders for keeping track of how far you go.
What do you do to get more activity in your day? Do you have problems with trying to get more movement on your feet? Leave me a message, I’d love to hear from you.