Walking is the most natural form of exercise known to man. Almost anyone with a pair of healthy legs can do it. It need not be taught; neither does it need practice.
It is safe, simple, can be done anytime at any sort of weather or clothing and above all it comes free. All you need to do is just get up and walk your way to health
The advantages of walking
Regular walking brings with it plenty of health benefits. Here are some of them:
Healthy heart: Regular walking lowers cholesterol levels that can harm your heart. Additionally walking also prevents high blood pressure which is a precursor for heart disease. If you already have high blood pressure (hypertension), walking will help reduce it and bring it in control.
Diabetes: Regular walking reduces your risk of developing Diabetes and enhances your body’s capacity to process sugar, lower blood sugar and reduce risk of heart disease. This also applies to individuals who already have Diabetes.
Obesity: Regular walking can prevent weight gain and keep you in great shape. For example, middle-aged women who walk more than 10,000 steps a day have lower levels of body fat than do women who are less active.
Stress: Regular walking helps you manage stress effectively and boosts your spirits. It also helps drive away depression and anxiety.
Endurance: Walking improves your physical strength and endurance levels. It also strengthens your Immune System to ward off infections.
Tips for walking
Make ample preparations before you go for a walk. The following are some tips on how you can enhance your walking experience:
- Wear shoes and socks that are comfortable. Use cotton socks; avoid synthetic material as they do not allow sweat to evaporate.
- Wear loose protective clothing, preferably cotton ones. Dress in accordance to weather conditions. Wear bright colors after dark so that motorists can spot you.
- Do warm-up sessions—walk slowly for about 5 min until your muscles warm up. Warming up your muscles reduces your risk of injury.
- After warming up, perform stretching exercises (see Box) for about 5 min before walking.
- To reduce stress on your heart and muscles, end each walking session by walking slowly for about 5 min. Then, repeat your stretches.
- If you are so out of breath that you cannot carry on a conversation with the person you are walking with, you are probably walking too fast and should slow down.