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The Health Benefits of Walking

RKMD Blog 2 months ago

With the new year approaching, there’s no better time to think of a resolution for 2022 to help kick-start your healthy habits. While some people may want to be ambitious and set huge goals, in most cases, they are unrealistic and never last the first week.

The best option for creating a new goal is to pick a goal that is beneficial but also realistic. One of the best resolutions you can make that fits these requirements is to walk more.

However, setting a goal to walk more isn’t enough; you need to set a quantifiable goal so that every day you can check it off, knowing that you met the goal you set for yourself. It’s also much easier to work on your goal every day when you know exactly what you are aiming for

When it comes to walking, there are two great options for quantifiable goals. You can set a time limit that you want to meet every day, or you can set a step limit. No matter what, you want to choose a goal that is realistic. For example, if you haven’t done any walking for exercise, you’re not going to want to start by committing to 2 hours a day. Start with 30 minutes, and then with each month, bump up the times if you’re finding that it’s getting easier.

Now, why is walking such an excellent resolution to make? Let’s go over all the health benefits that this simple activity provides.

Strengthens the Heart

With heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States, maintaining good heart health is extremely important. One of the best ways to ensure your heart stays healthy is through physical activity, specifically aerobic exercise, which walking is an excellent source of.

Physical activity strengthens your heart, increases your heart rate, and increases blood circulation. This then means that more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your organs. Not to mention, exercising helps to lower blood pressure, a huge risk factor for heart disease.

Also, increasing the intensity of your walk may help reduce your risk of heart disease even more.

Burns Calories

One of the most obvious benefits of walking is that it burns calories. As we all know, burning calories can help us maintain or lose weight, so it is an important aspect of a healthy life.

In addition, changing up the intensity of your walk can also impact how many calories you burn.

You can switch up any of these options to add some variety to your workout and increase the number of calories burned:

  • distance walked
  • walking speed
  • incline or terrain

Eases Joint Pain

Walking helps to reduce stiffness, pain, and inflammation in the joints, especially when they result from arthritis. In fact, The Arthritis Foundation states that walking is one of the most important things to do if you have arthritis.

On top of relieving the above conditions, walking also helps to lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints, improving joint pain long-term.

Boosts the Immune System

Walking may be able to reduce your risk of catching a cold or the flu due to its ability to boost your immune system. A study on 1,000 individuals found that those who walked daily for 30 to 45 minutes had 43% fewer sick days and had fewer upper respiratory tract infections overall.

Additionally, if those who walked daily did get sick, their symptoms were less severe than those who did not walk daily. So, if you want to give your immune system a little extra boost, try to get in a daily walk. It may be hard to do this, especially during flu season when it is colder, but using a treadmill or going to the mall for your walk is just as effective as walking outside.

Improves Mood

Going on a walk is a huge benefit for your mental health. Various studies have shown how walking can help with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other negative feelings.

In addition to walking, in general, being good for your health, walking outside provides additional benefits. A study focusing on how walking through a forest affected individuals found that it lowered the sympathetic nervous activity and heart rate. Plus, those walking through the forest felt more comfortable and relaxed. Any depression, anxiety, anger, or other negative feelings decreased.

The calming effects of nature are scientifically proven, so next time you feel stressed out, try taking a walk outside to see if it can help you manage your negative feelings.

Provides an Energy Boost

When it comes to an energy boost, walking may be even more effective than a cup of coffee when it comes to getting you through that mid-afternoon slump.

This is because walking increases the flow of oxygen through the body. It can increase the hormone levels of cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. These three hormones help to elevate energy levels, so if you can increase their levels, it will give you an energy boost.

Lowers Blood Sugar

Did you know that the time you choose to walk can also have some health benefits? A study found that taking a short walk after each big meal of the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) of about 15 minutes was more effective at lowering blood sugar than taking one longer 45-minute walk at another time of the day.

A Resolution for Anyone

One of the best things about walking for your health is that most people are able to do it. It is a low-impact exercise that doesn’t require any equipment besides some sneakers. In addition, it’s a free activity, so there is no price tag on accomplishing your resolution.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone, check out our Glutathione Rapid Boost™+ holiday gift pack. It includes 15 individually wrapped Glutathione drink mix packets, plus you will also get a pedometer, armband, and water bottle while supplies last. This can help you stay hydrated while exercising and track your steps so you can see when you meet your goal. With all of this, keeping your resolution will be easy!

 

References
[1] Song, C., Ikei, H., Kagawa, T., & Miyazaki, Y. (2019). Effects of Walking in a Forest on Young Women. International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health, 16(2), 229. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16020229
[2] Heart Health: Walking for a Healthy Heart | Michigan Medicine. (2021). https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/zp3482
[3] Nieman, D., Henson, D., Austin, M., & Sha, W. (2010). Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults. British Journal Of Sports Medicine, 45(12), 987-992. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2010.077875
[4] Randolph, D., & O’Connor, P. (2017). Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women. Physiology & Behavior, 174, 128-135. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.03.013
[5] Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. (2006). Exercise for Mental Health. The Primary Care Companion To The Journal Of Clinical Psychiatry, 08(02), 106. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a
[6] Heart Disease Facts | cdc.gov. (2021). Retrieved 13 November 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
[7] DiPietro, L., Gribok, A., Stevens, M., Hamm, L., & Rumpler, W. (2013). Three 15-min Bouts of Moderate Postmeal Walking Significantly Improves 24-h Glycemic Control in Older People at Risk for Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Diabetes Care, 36(10), 3262-3268. doi: 10.2337/dc13-0084

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