Stepping Your Way to Health: The Benefits of a Daily Walk
Walking is an easy, low-impact way to incorporate some healthy movement into your day. Especially during the times of COVID-19, walking has become a great way to get outdoors and enjoy some exercise in a safe way.
In fact, a lot of people are making walks part of their everyday lives. So, what benefits does the routine hold for your health? Below, SteadyMD’s Dr. Dave Sly shares some insights about how walking impacts your health.
What health benefits can people get from a consistent walking practice?
Just the practice of walking can help reduce the effects from chronic disease. If we can avoid a sedentary lifestyle, we can certainly help stave off some of the concerns of chronic disease such as obesity, and see improvements from diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. There are so many studies over the past decades that show the benefits of exercise, even low-intensity exercise, such as walking.
Would you recommend that people make daily walks a part of their routines?
I think one of the important things is to make it part of your daily schedule. Schedule a walk on your calendar and stick with it. After doing this for a few weeks, the enjoyment that will be received from consistently walking will be something that you will start to desire.
Certainly during the times of COVID-19 and a lot of work-from-home situations, getting out of the house to go for a walk for 20 to 40 minutes has a lot of added benefits. It helps to not only mentally clear the head and offer new scenery, but also provides health benefits from deep breathing, increased heart rate, and just the overall feeling of getting out and doing some physical activity instead of sitting at your chair, couch or work desk.
For people in areas that are too cold in the winter for outdoor walks, what are some practices they can do to experience similar health benefits?
People can certainly use in-home exercise equipment that they may not be currently using such as a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bicycle. Other things to try would be working with a video of low-impact aerobics, practicing yoga or tai chi, or moving along with an online stretching instruction video. These options would be very consistent with low-intensity types of exercises.
How else can walking help people stay healthy?
As we increase in our age, the higher intensity exercise becomes more difficult on joints and tissues. Walking is a nice low-impact exercise to continue with and receive the benefits from as we get older. It is also a great starting exercise for those that want to begin something more intense.
If there are extra pounds that we are carrying, beginning with walking is a nice way to start to get our muscles and tissues more accustomed to exercise to avoid injury, instead of starting with something of high intensity.
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