One of the simplest ways to increase your physical activity is by going for a walk, but did you know it could be highly effective as well?
As an Edmonton Personal Trainer, I know many people underrate the impact that simply going for a walk can have on their waistline. Typically, people will put more emphasis on doing high intensity cardiovascular routines. While high intensity activities can burn more calories, they aren’t always the best option for people – whether that’s due to physical limitations, injuries or their specific goal.
Walking doesn’t just have physical benefits, but can improve our mental health and overall quality of life as well. Below, I’ve listed some of my top reasons why you should be going for a daily walk:
- Cardiovascular Health: Walking is a great cardiovascular workout that can help lower blood pressure and improve circulation (which can help reduce post-workout muscle soreness). It can also help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Weight Loss: By adding more physical activity on a daily basis we will burn more calories which can help result in weight loss. Because walking isn’t highly taxing on the body, we can implement it daily. A daily walk of 30 minutes can help you lose weight and keep it off.
- Increased Endurance: Walking regularly can help increase our endurance and stamina. This can help us perform other physical activities more easily and improve our overall fitness level.
- Improved Mental Health: Walking has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can also help boost mood and self-esteem by giving us a sense of accomplishment. Going for a walk outside especially has been shown to help with this – getting people away from electronic devices, getting more oxygen saturated air, and getting Vitamin D from the sun.
- Better Sleep: Regular walking can help us sleep better at night by expending more energy throughout the day. It can help us relax and fall asleep faster, and improve the quality of your sleep by reducing overall stress in the body.
- Increased Bone Density: Walking. Like many weight-bearing exercises, can help increase bone density, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related problems.
- Sustains Muscle Mass: While long bouts of moderate to high intensity cardiovascular training can burn more calories, it also sends a signal to the body to breakdown tissue for energy. While some of this will be fat, some can also come from our muscle. Low-intensity cardio, like walking, can preserve muscle tissue while burning calories. Some suggest this can actually use of more fat for energy than anything, but more research is required for this.
- Low Impact: With repetitive heavy strikes while running, the foot, ankle, knee, and hip can go through a great amount of strain in our lifetime. While running puts a greater impact on these joints (especially if we are carrying some extra pounds), walking can be much friendlier to them. This can lead to less injuries overall, and a better quality of life later on.
- Cost-Effective: Walking is the most inexpensive form of exercise. It doesn’t require any special equipment or gym membership, which makes it accessible to everyone. Simply put on a pair of shoes, dress for the weather, and away you go!
It can be extremely difficult for individuals to lose weight, or get started on a fitness routine. Walking can be a great place to start. A hack that has helped some people is by implementing 3–10-minute walks per day (usually following meals) to reach an extra 2000-3000 steps per day. Most recommendations will advise to aim for 10,000 steps per day, but start by adding an extra 1000-2000 daily and build off of that.
Of course, if you’re looking to see the best results, pair walking with working with an RK Athletics Personal Trainer. Through Personal Training clients can learn how to do exercises properly and effectively, while also working to build better lifestyle and nutritional habits to see long term results.
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I hope you found this article useful – if you did, I’d appreciate if you shared it with a friend. Remember, taking action is the best way to get started, and I hope you choose to live life to the fullest!
Owner – RK Athletics Edmonton Personal Training