A walking program that aims for 10,000 steps a day is a great way to include exercise in your daily routine. There are many health benefits of walking while in midlife. Walking is a safe exercise that can be done almost anywhere, during any season, provided you use some common sense.
walking prevents medical conditions
Walking has been shown to prevent many of the common medical conditions that affect people as they age. It is even though to be protective against some cancers, such as colon cancer, and lower the risk of dementia and diabetes.
Those who already have chronic conditions can also benefit from regular exercise. Walking is low impact but is a weight-bearing exercise that quickly helps build muscle and improve bone health.
Walking has been shown to prevent or improve the following health conditions:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis
- Mood disorders
Studies have shown that people with cancer who walk regularly tend to have better outcomes than those who do not. Those with rheumatoid arthritis need to exercise regularly in order to minimize the damage this autoimmune disorder does as it attacks the joints.
A recent study has shown that walking appears to be protective against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s usually have at least one of the conditions listed above, so the more you can do to prevent these, the more independent and mobile you can remain well into your senior years.
tone and trim
The most obvious benefit of walking is to tone and trim, and help you lose weight. Walking burns calories and works a range of muscle groups at the same time.
As with all forms of exercise, check with your doctor first to make sure you are well enough to walk. If you are over 40 and spend most of your time sitting at work or at home, and have not seen a doctor in the past year, start your walking program with a full checkup.
If you have any chronic health condition, warning signs and symptoms to watch out for include:
-Asthma, diabetes or heart trouble.
-Pain in your arm, neck or chest when you are active (angina) or even at rest.
-Frequent dizzy spells.
-Trouble breathing after physical activity.
-Issues with your bones or joints that make it painful to walk.
A walking program can offer many health benefits provided you put safety and common sense first.
Walking to Reduce Stress
Stress is an almost inescapable part of modern life, but it affects each person in different ways. Some people suffer from physical signs, such as headaches, tense or sore muscles, or trouble sleeping. Others might show emotional signs, such as feeling anxious, depressed, on edge, angry, or all four of these at varying times.
The good news is that exercise can help relieve stress, improve health, and boost mood. Even better, you don’t have to spend hours pumping iron in the gym. All you have to do is start a walking program.
Healthy habits, including regular physical activity such as walking, can help reduce or prevent some of the most harmful effects of persistent stress on our body, mind and spirit.
Stress increases blood pressure and heart rate, but lowers your respiration, creating a “fight or flight” response. This means your body will remain in emergency mode on and off every day, for weeks or even months at a time, if you don’t take steps to lower your stress.
How many steps? 10,000 per day is the recommendation by the US Surgeon General. This might sound like a lot, but the good news is that every step you take throughout the day can help you reach this goal.
walking lowers many ailments
Walking lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, and boosts breathing. It burns calories and reduces body fat. It evens out blood sugar, so you are less likely to grab unhealthy snacks when you are under stress.
walking helps stress
Stress can wear you down over time, leading to a weakened immune system. It creates persistent inflammation in the body, which can lead to clogging of the arteries and autoimmune diseases, in which the body starts to attack itself, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
A regular walking program offers:
- less stress
- more calm
- better mood
- increased energy
- increased concentration
- better resistance to unhealthy coping strategies such as smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, and eating too many non-nutritious foods
- increased appetite control
- better quality of sleep
- better heart health
- weight loss and weight control
- trim and toned muscles
- weight-bearing exercise for good bone density
It also offers a nice change of scenery, which can also lower stress.
If you’re tired of feeling like a pressure cooker about to explode, lace up your shoes and start your walking program today, and see what a difference it can make to your health.
Walking for a Healthy Heart
Walking is one of the easiest exercises to enjoy, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is low-impact, which will protect bones and joint, but it is also a valuable aerobic activity that can improve your heart health.
Aerobic exercise raises you heart rate, giving your heart, the most important muscle in your body, a good work out. This will keep it pumping regularly and efficiently. Walking increases your breathing and intake of oxygen. It boost blood circulation as well, which means your heart is able to distribute more oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to your body from top to toe.
Better circulation means lower blood pressure. It also means lower cholesterol, which means fewer clogged arteries and less risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), that is, blockage of one or more arteries that supply the heart tissue with life-giving oxygen. Less risk of CAD means less risk of heart attack.
Walking burns calories, builds lean muscle, boosts metabolism, and reduces body fat. Less weight and body fat will often mean lower cholesterol and less wear and tear on your heart and body generally.
If you want to start a walking program for your heart health, your first step is to check in with your doctor. If haven’t visited the doctor in the past year, make an appointment for a complete physical. If you have seen them recently, find out what your blood pressure, cholesterol and other readings were. Note these down in a walking journal you should start to help you keep track of your goals and progress towards them.
Next, explain to your doctor that you want to start a walking program. Given the overall state of your health, ask if there are any special guidelines you should follow.
Start out slowly at first
Add a couple of hundred steps to your regular daily routine rather than trying to do 10,000 overnight.
Observe proper form in terms of posture and stride.
Chin up, chest out, and strike your heel first on the ground and allow your foot to roll up towards the ball and toes.
Don’t forget to warm up and cool down.
Stretch before and after each session. Walk at a slower pace at the start and end, and speed up in the middle.
Use a pedometer to log your steps.
It will keep you on target for your 10,000.
Walking for Fitness
Walking is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to keep fit. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and a pedometer to help you count your steps, and you will be well on your way to working up to the 10,000 steps per day recommended by the US Surgeon General as one of the ways to meet the suggested 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity, that is, activity which increases the heart rate.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Statistics, complied in 2012, the percentage of American adults who reported walking at least once in the past week for a period of 10 minutes or longer increased from 56% in 2005 to 62% in 2010. Therefore, the message that walking is good for you is starting to filter through.
Walking can be performed almost anywhere, in any season, if you use a little common sense with regard to the weather. Dress in layers in the winter, and stay out of the sun and walk during the cooler parts of the day during the summer. Try snowshoeing to make your workout a little tougher if you live in an area with snow. Walk in the water along the shore at the beach if you live near the coast. It will help tone up your calves.
Walking is an ideal weight-bearing exercise that builds both muscle and bone. Depending on the speed and location you are walking in, it can raise your heart rate to keep it fit as well. Good choices are walking up flights of stairs, or power walking at a speed of about 4 to 5 miles an hour.
Swinging your arms can also add to the workout. Some people up the intensity by carrying a weighted backpack. Others carry hand weights and lift them as they walk. Avoid ankle weights, however, as they can cause injury if you trip on them, and they can also harm your ankles.
Walking has been shown to be as good for fitness as jogging, but with far less impact. It is also great for weight loss because it burns calories. Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can be as bad for your health as smoking.
So get off the sofa and away from the computer, lace up your shoes, and start your walking routine today.
Walking For Weight Loss
Walking is an excellent exercise for weight loss and weight control provided that it is part of an overall healthy lifestyle. The body is constantly burning calories in order to maintain its constant temperature of 98.6 degrees and perform all essential bodily functions. This is referred to as a resting metabolic rate.
Physical exercise such as walking helps burn calories in 2 ways. The first is the energy expended due to the movement. The more intense the exercise, the more calories you will burn. Thirty minutes of walking can burn 150 to 300 calories depending on your speed.
The second way it can help is by boosting your metabolism through the creation of long, lean muscle. Muscle burns calories more efficiently than fatty tissue. Therefore, having more lean muscle than fat will increase your resting metabolic rate, so your body will burn calories more efficiently.
Gaining 1 pound is far easier than losing it. Gaining 1 pound is the result of eating 2,000 extra calories beyond what you are burning throughout your daily routine. Losing 1 pound is the result of burning 3,500 calories. This can be accomplished through exercise, and through a reduced-calorie diet. Even you cut your calories by 500 per day, you would be able to lose 1 pound a week. The only way to lose weight at a faster rate is to exercise more.
Making sure you get 10,000 steps each day, and walking at a pace of between 3.5 and 5 miles per hour for at least part of the day will burn up to 800 calories per day. Alternate regular walking with power walking.
Strength training for the recommended 2 sessions a week for 30 minutes each using light weights or resistance bands will also add to your lean muscle, to boost your resting metabolism even more. Some people walk with a weighted back pack or hand weights to add to the intensity of their work to burn more calories.
As with all weight loss programs, start slowly and sensibly. Think about adding, not taking away. Increase your steps even as you add healthier foods to your diet. Don’t starve yourself, just make smarter choices.
Once you’ve lost the weight you wish, walking will help keep it off. Walking is just one part of the healthy weight loss equation, but one proven to work. Make your walking program the cornerstone of your healthy lifestyle and see how much weight you can lose.