Walk before you run – Benefits of brisk walking

When I first ran my first marathon 6 years ago, it was still a new concept with only a few races happening in a calendar year. Today, with an increased concern of staying fit in an unhealthy lifestyle and environment around us, people have found a friend in the running. 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 easy to overtrain and get injured before you are ready to reap its benefits. Also, for some people who are little overweight, running initially without proper 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 the 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 the bus station, to the railway station and where not. They didn’t have many luxuries 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.

Walking at a brisk pace for up to 30 mins a day is a great way to keep your cardiovascular health in good shape and maintain a healthy weight. In fact, the benefits of brisk walking are 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 heart rate which will further strengthen the heart, lower the blood pressure and reduce cholesterol over a period. 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. The study analyzed over 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study. The researchers found that the energy used for walking & running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes over the study’s 6 years. 

Walking is good for muscles and bones – Walking over an extended period will strengthen the muscles and also helps to keep Arthritis at bay.

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 different body parts for the much-needed functions, which is critical to feeling energized and not lethargic or tired. Walking gets your lungs to expand and your heart pumping, giving you an 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 and take a stroll

Buy a fitness tracker or use apps on your smartphone to track daily step counts. Hitting 10,000 steps per day would mean that you are probably moving a lot.

Happy walking!

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