When you’re starting a new fitness regime, you might be inclined to high tail it over to your nearest gym for a membership so that you can hit those weights and bust out some heavy cardio, or perhaps try the latest craze in high intensity activity like Crossfit, but you really don’t need to do that. In fact, for many people, diving right in to an intense new plan could do more harm than good if you’re not careful; you should always ease in to a new routine. That being said, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that approach, it also might be a little overkill and could ultimately be overwhelming when those sore muscles kick in, causing you to break and derail before you’ve even had a chance to see any changes from your efforts. On the other hand, a simple walk a day could be just what you need to kick off your health plan with long lasting benefits and results you can rave about.
I know what you’re thinking. “Walking? Seriously? But it’s so easy it couldn’t possible help me.”
Oh, but it can! So what does it do, exactly?
1. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Walking is fantastic cardio – really. It lowers your LDL levels (bad cholesterol) while simultaneously raising your HDL (good cholesterol). According to The Heart&Stroke Foundation, a brisk 30-minute walk a day prevents and controls high blood pressure, reducing your risk of stroke by up to 27%.
2. Reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and multiple Cancers
Regular walkers are 20% less likely to develop colon, breast or womb cancer, and they decrease they’re likelihood of Type 2 Diabetes by about 60%.
3. Helps you Lose Weight
We all know that weight loss is a simple formula of CI<CO, that’s calories in less than calories out, so of course walking can help you shed unwanted pounds. A well paced half hour walk burns about 150 calories on average, that’s half your morning Bacon& Egg McMuffin. Squeeze in an hour and suddenly it’s like you didn’t eat that McDonalds breakfast sandwich at all!
4. Helps with Body Composition
After a few weeks of regular walking you’ll start to notice more defined quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves and even your waistline if you’re ensuring proper posture throughout. Throw a couple hills into the mix for greater results.
5. Boosts Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is on the rise because we simply aren’t spending as much time outdoors as we used to be. Low levels of Vitamin D are known to be associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma and even cognitive impairment. Vitamin D also helps to balance your circadian rhythm by keeping your cortisol levels in check which means you’ll be less stressed and sleep better, too!
6. Gives you Energy
Want to be more productive after your lunch break? Take some time to get out for a walk before you have to get back to work; you’ll notice a drastic difference in how well you’re able to focus and tend to the tasks at hand because walking increases blood circulation and oxygen flow leaving you feeling more alert and alive.
7. Makes you Happier
Exercise makes you happier, it’s true. When you exercise your body releases “feel-good” endorphin’s, making walking effective in treating mild to moderate depression and reducing your overall stress levels.
So go on then and put on your shoes, it’s time for a walk!