One of the easiest and most pleasant ways to improve your health, lose weight or achieve longevity is to walk in the open air.
MD Melina Giampolis advises devoting at least 30 minutes a day to walking: "Walking is the number one exercise that I recommend to most of my patients. It requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes but gives huge benefits for physical and mental health. Just by walking, you will reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, strengthen your heart muscle, and make your brain more active. "
And this is just the beginning of a long list of health benefits of walking. What are some other positive aspects of walking every day?
1. Mood improvement
A few squares of dark chocolate and a cup of coffee are guaranteed to improve the mood. But walking has the same advantages with one strong difference: it does not add calories, but on the contrary - burns them. "Studies show that regular walking benefits the human nervous system by quenching anger and reducing levels of hostility. The effect is stronger if you walk in a park or forest full of greenery, and the sun gives you its rays, "says Melina Giampolis, MD.
Did you know?
Australians take an average of 9695 steps per day, Swedes - 9650, Japanese - 7168, and Americans - 5117.
2. Reducing the risk of chronic diseases
Experts at the American Diabetes Association say that walking reduces blood sugar and the risk of diabetes. And researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Tennessee provide reports suggesting that regular walking reduces blood pressure and the likelihood of developing a stroke by 20-40%. And one of the most cited studies on the benefits of walking, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, states that people who walk enough to meet generally accepted exercise guidelines have a 30% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
3. Prevention of varicose veins
As you get older, the likelihood of varicose veins increases. But walking is a proven way to prevent the appearance of convex lines on your legs or delay the onset of the disease. "If you are already suffering from varicose veins, walking daily will help smooth out leg discomfort and reduce swelling," says Luis Navarro, MD.
4. Finding Slender
Personal fitness trainer Ariel Yasevoli says that walking is one of the most effective ways to change the structure of the body for the better and lose weight: "Daily walks increase metabolism, burn extra calories and strengthen muscle mass. At the same time, you do not need to wind circles on the treadmill. One of my clients reduced the body fat concentration by 2%, simply returning from work on foot and walking no more than 1.5 km. " Want to lose weight faster? Try interval training! "Interval walking makes your body burn calories long after the workout is over. To do this, devote 3 minutes to warm-up, after which alternate one minute of fast walking and 1 minute of very fast (at the limit of your capabilities). After that, take 2 minutes to rest, continuing to go, and then repeat everything again. The ideal duration of interval training is 25 minutes, "says walking coach Michel Staten.
6. Relieving joint pain
During walking, the body's circulation improves, the mobility of the joints increases, and the muscles surrounding them strengthen. 2019 research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggests that 10 minutes of walking a day (roughly equal to an hour a week) helps prevent arthritis pain in older adults. The study was conducted with 1,564 people over 49 years old.
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7. Reducing the risk of oncology
Representatives of the fair sex who actively train are 30-40% less likely to have breast cancer. In addition, women and men who walk fast or regularly engage in other types of exercise are less likely to encounter colon cancer.
Richard Vale, director of the Obesity Research Center in New York, advises those who want to support and strengthen their health to take about 6,000 steps a day, and those who want to become slimmer - at least 10,000.
8. Strengthening immunity
Normal walking is a good help to strengthen immunity during seasonal diseases and not only. A 2017 study demonstrated that it helps avoid respiratory disease even in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and reduces the likelihood of fatal outcomes.
Patients with COPD are often overweight, so cannot exercise for a long time - they find it difficult to breathe while performing the load. But walking improves disease symptoms and also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.
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9. Improving Sleep Quality
Those who regularly exercise know how exercise affects sleep and sleep duration. Athletes fall asleep, barely touching their heads to the pillow, and sleep stronger.
A 2019 study among women of the fair sex showed that postmenopausal women who practice moderate physical activity sleep at night better than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. At the same time, walking can reduce pain and stress levels.
*If you are experiencing trouble sleeping, a natural way
10. Gaining longevity
Have you ever wondered how people from blue zones cross the 100-year line? According to researchers, one of the key secrets of their long active life is outdoor walking.
A study shared by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that people aged 70 to 90 who are physically active and often walk live longer than those who stay at home.
At the same time, physical activities allow them not only to receive all the bonuses from sports but also to maintain social ties with relatives and friends, which means support and approval, which are especially important in adulthood.