A Top Ten List of the Benefits of Walking

WalkingBy Susan Brown

Perhaps Hippocrates said it best when he stated, “Walking is man’s best medicine.”  The simple act of walking can benefit you physically, emotionally and socially.  Walking helps to maintain your weight, restores your energy and supports an overall healthy lifestyle.  Walking can provide the same health benefits of more rigorous exercise, such as jogging or running, with less stress on your joints and body.  Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to produce measurable benefits of exercise.  Walking is easily accessible and doesn’t require a gym membership or expensive equipment.  Just invest in a good pair of shoes and warm up by walking at a slow, easy pace for 5 minutes before picking up speed.  If you are new to walking,  start off with 10 – 15 minute sessions and slowly increase your time and pace.  For general health benefits, walk 30 minutes per day, three to five days per week, at a moderate pace. 

Here are 10 good reasons to get up and walk:

  1. Walking strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system.  Walking 3 times per week for 30 minutes can significantly increase cardiovascular fitness.  Regular walkers have fewer heart attacks and strokes, have lower blood pressure and higher levels of good HDL cholesterol.  To improve cardio fitness, walk 30 minutes most days of the week at a brisk pace (3 miles per hour).
  2. Weight management.  The average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs 6 – 10 pounds less than those who live in sprawling neighborhoods.  If you are walking to lose weight, walk a minimum of 5 days per week for 45 – 60 minutes at a brisk pace. 
  3. Diabetes prevention.  Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes.  Regular physical activity and weight maintenance are beneficial in prevention.   Walking 30 minutes per day boosts your sensitivity to insulin, which helps keep blood glucose levels in the normal range.  If you already have type 2 diabetes, losing 10  – 15 pounds may help lower your blood glucose, blood pressure and improve blood lipids. 
  4. Boost your brain power.  Physical activity increases heart rate which pumps more oxygen to the brain.  It aids in the release of hormones that nourish the growth of brain cells and can stimulate the production of neurons, synapses and blood vessels.  Studies have shown that exercising regularly for 20 minutes at a time facilitates information processing and memory functions. 
  5. Improve mood and relieve stress.  Walking leads to the release of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, the body’s natural mood elevators.  Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression, boost self esteem and improve sleep. 
  6. Boost your immune system.  Walking helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections.  Increased circulation sends antibodies and white blood cells through the body at a quicker pace, resulting in increased chance of early detection of an impending illness.  Walking regularly decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis and physical disabilities. 
  7. It’s good for bone strength.  Bones respond to pressure from weight by forming more bone.  Walking, a weight bearing exercise,  has been shown to be effective in slowing the rate of bone loss.
  8. Revs your energy.  Studies show that walking and other exercise acts directly on the nervous system to increase energy and reduce fatigue. 
  9. Staying power.  Walking has the highest compliance rate of any exercise plan.  People who begin a walking routine tend to stick with it as they see results of their efforts.  Walkers also report enjoying the activity especially when walking with a friend or a group. 
  10. It can help you kick the smoking habit.  Walking can help you with both the physical and psychological aspects of nicotine addiction.  Moderate activity reduces the urge to smoke by engaging the brain’s mood enhancing hormones.  Withdrawal symptoms and cravings decrease during exercise and for about an hour afterwards.  Replace a harmful addiction with a more positive one, exercise. 

These are just a few of the many good reasons to begin a walking routine. Walking at your own pace and on your own schedule makes it easy to do.  You can walk by yourself, with a friend or your dog and take in some great scenery while you’re at it.  Walking has such a positive effect on your well being that, before you know it, your walk is completed.  You may even decide to take another loop around your block or neighborhood.  All you have to do is lace up your sneakers, open the door and go! 

Supplements that support exercise, endurance and training include:

Klean Endurance by Klean Athlete  – These chewable tablets contain pure, all natural D-Ribose that supports the natural way a body produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  The natural pentose sugar promotes cardiovascular health, energy production, and mitochondrial function. Klean Endurance offers you a clinically proven way to help restore energy during exercise. NSF Certified for Sport.

Ligament Restore by Pure Encapsulations  –  Ligament Restore combines ingredients found naturally in tendons, ligaments and joints to help strengthen and support the maintenance and natural repair processes of healthy connective tissue. 

Klean Isolate by Klean Athlete –  Klean Isolate provides 22g of pure whey protein isolate per serving for enhancement of daily protein and amino acid intake.  NSF Certified for Sport.

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