Enjoy better health and experience the benefits of walking for fun and fitness. Here are four reasons you should consider walking, and seven helpful tips.
Walking for Exercise
Walking is easier on your body than exercise that is more vigorous, such as running and competitive sports, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good exercise. Walking can be tailored to most fitness levels and health needs. A walking for fitness program can start slowly and increase as you build stamina and strength, without any equipment, and it is free.
Walking Is a Whole-Body Workout
Have you ever just watched someone walk? Not a racer, and not someone ambling along, but just a normal person walking quickly. Their body moves in synchronized motion, all the joints, muscles, and tendons. The feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, and hips work in rhythm, and it doesn’t stop there.
The upper body is working as well. At a normal pace, a walker’s arms swing along with the rest of their body — not the small, closely held motion of a runner, but full arm swings. The back, midriff, chest, and shoulders roll with the motion as well. The walker’s head is erect, and though the head does not move, supporting the head as the body moves exercises the neck as well.
Advantages of Walking
Doctors say that people who walk regularly can often attain better long-term health and suffer fewer injuries than someone who exercises more vigorously because walking has minimal impact on your bones and joints.
Even moderate stretching required by some activities may be a problem for seniors or others with joint problems, but if you can walk, you can walk for fitness.
Benefits of Walking
- Some specific benefits of walking for exercise that Harvard Medical School notes include:
- Lower blood pressure and reduced risk of stroke
- Decreased risk of heart attack and lower cholesterol
- Increase in bone density and lower risk of broken bones
- Increased sense of well-being
Additional benefits I have noticed during my own walking program are fewer headaches, greater flexibility, and improved coordination. Once into a progressive walking routine, adding walking poles to the plan can increase the benefit without spending more time.