Walk before you run – Benefits of brisk walking

I remember running my first marathon about 4 years ago. Marathon at that time was a new concept with only few races happening in a calendar year. However, with growing concern for staying fit in an unhealthy lifestyle and environment around us, people have found a friend in running and marathon concept today in order to stay fit and keep diseases at bay. From just 10 marathons happening in a year, today we have over 365 races organized in a year in India. Running is good, actually great for our body as the human beings are born to run. But it also comes with its own set of challenges. It is very east to over train and get injured before you are ready to reap its benefits. Also, for some people who are little overweight, running initially without strength training exercise can put pressure on your knees, legs and ankle, thus making you prone to the injuries.

Let’s remember how our ancestors stayed fit for most part of their lives without really engaging in gyming and running. They just walked!

They walked to buy groceries, they walked to the field, to shops, to schools, to bus station, to railway station and where not. They didn’t have much luxury of cars and bikes those days so walking was the only option. Whenever they were not walking, they were probably cycling to their way to work.

Walling at a brisk pace for upto 30 mins a day is a great way to keep your cardiovascular health in good shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. In-fact the benefits of brisk walking is very much comparable to jogging at a moderate pace.

Let’s take a look at key benefits of brisk walking

  • Injury free approach to staying fit by helping in losing weight.
  • No expensive equipment needed.
  • Good for cardiovascular health – Brisk walking will increase your hear rate which will strength the heart, lower the blood pressure and reduce cholesterol over a period of time. A recent study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkley, Calif listed the above conditions as high risk factors for heart diseases and stroke. They analysed over 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study. They found that the same energy used for moderate- intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary heart disease over the study’s six years. The more people walked or ran each week, the more their health benefits increased.
  • Walking good for muscles and bones – Walking over a long period of time will strength the muscles and also helps to stay away from Arthritis
  • Its will boosts your energy level as the blood circulation improves and energy from blood is circulated well in the system. Walking makes you breathe longer and fill your lungs with much needed oxygen. A sedentary lifestyle impacts your breathing, which means you give less oxygen to your various body parts for much needed functions, which is critical to feeling energized and not lethargic or tired. Walking gets you lungs to expand and your heart pumping and giving you the much needed energy boost.

How to make sure we are walking more?

  • Adopt a pet – Talking your dog out twice a day will help you achieve higher numbers of steps in a day.
  • Start avoiding cars/bikes for short distance travel. Choose a right time and go walking to buy small groceries.
  • Go to a nearby park with family and kids and enjoy little games or just stroll
  • Buy a fitness tracker or use apps on your smartphone to track daily step counts. Hitting a number of 10,000 per day would mean that you are probably walking a lot but don’t just go by the numbers, make sure most of the steps are covered in brisk walking

Happy walking!

Cover picture By onlyyouqj / Freepik

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