Walking is one of the easiest and simplest exercise one can partake in. Although, a lot of people might not really think much of walking, however, it’s a good way of keeping fit and healthy, especially when done consistently. Humans walk everywhere, to the bedroom, to the fridge, to their car, in their office and so on. Although, the use of cars has reduced the extent to which people walk. Studies have shown that people should walk a minimum of 10,000 steps every day, to stay healthy. This article would focus on the different advantages of walking, especially the effects it has on the heart.
Top 10 Health Advantages Of Walking
1. Walking helps to Prevent Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetic Mellitus is a metabolic disorder, in which there is hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar, over a long time. Diabetes mellitus has many causes, which ranges from autoimmunity to insulin resistance. Diabetes mellitus comes with 3 main symptoms: frequent and excessive urination, also known as polyuria, polyphagia (increased hunger), and polydipsia (increased thirst). Diabetes predisposes the body to a number of other diseases, such as hypertension and coronary heart diseases.
Diabetes complications can be divided into two parts:
- Acute complications- Diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state. These different complications can eventually lead to death if not well controlled.
- Chronic complications- including the following conditions: diabetic foot ulcer, neuropathies such as a feeling of tingling in the foot and in the hand, retinopathy, stroke in severe cases, coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
There are 3 main types of diabetes mellitus:
- Diabetes mellitus 1
- Diabetes mellitus 2
- Gestational diabetes
Walking has the ability to help us reduce our abdominal fat, which is one of the risk factors for the development of diabetes mellitus. According to the International Journal of obesity, it was discovered that individuals with a waistline above 40 inches are 5 times more likely to aquire diabetes mellitus. It was concluded that abdominal obesity may cause the metabolism of the body to induce the fat tissues to release chemicals that can lead to the development of insulin resistance. This is why it’s important to walk often, the more you walk, the more you reduce the chances of developing diabetes mellitus.
2. Walking Helps to Reduce Stress:
Walking is one of the many ways of reducing stress. You’d be surprised how a long walk can relieve you of stress, especially when going through difficult times. People who go on walks when stressed, usually return more calm and collected. Asides from this, studies have shown that some chemicals, also known as natural happy drugs, endorphins are released into the bloodstream when walking. This makes people have some feeling of accomplishment, and also improves their mood. The less stress we feel, the better for the human heart.
3. Walking for Weight Loss:
Walking is a good way of losing weight. Since the advent of vehicles, automobiles, people tend to walk less. Coupled with the junk foods, readily available everywhere now, it’s so easy to add excessive weight. Taking some time to walk or run, is an effective way of maintaining and losing weight. Walking is free and easy. All you need is probably some music plugged into your ears, or your dog. Fitness experts advise people start by walking for about 20 minutes every day. However, you’re free to reduce the duration, if that period is too much for you. Once you’re comfortable, you can attempt to walk a minimum of 10 000 steps per day. The idea is to be consistent and to keep improving. Keeping fit is good for our body, especially the heart.
4. Walking Could Be A Way Of Bonding:
Although it might not seem like much, walking with a partner, or a friend increases the bond with have with that person. Apart from the discussions that could be held, walking with someone makes it less stressful. The happier we are with our partners or friends, the better our heart is.
5. Walking Helps To Lower Your Blood Pressure:
Walking helps to lower your blood pressure. Studies have shown that walking for at least 10 minutes every day is a great way of reducing our blood pressure. The heart is in a better shape when our blood pressure is in the normal range.
6. Walking Helps To Prevent Cancer:
Studies have shown that walking for one to three hours every week reduces the risk of developing cancer. Some of the variants of cancer that can be prevented by walking regularly include breast and uterine cancer. Walking can reduce the risk of developing these types of cancer by up to 60%.
7.Walking is Good For Old Age:
Walking is good for the body, even for the elderly ones. Studies have shown that people that have a habit of walking while young, are often more mobile and independent when they get old. A group of people between the ages of 70 and 89 were studied for about 3 years. It was discovered that those that walked for not less than 10 minutes every day were more independent and healthier than others.
8. Walking enhances your memory:
Walking regularly has a way of boosting your memory, and keeping you sharp. According to a journal published by the National Academy of Sciences, walking for at least 40 minutes, at least 3 times a week boosts the functions of your hippocampus. This is more evident in the elderly. Older adults that walk regularly do have sharp memories.
9. Reduces The Risk Of Having Obesity:
Your body tends to accumulate fat as you age. This could lead to becoming overweight and obese if not checked. Obesity is bad for the heart and might lead to the development of heart diseases.
10. Reduces the risk of having a stroke:
Studies have shown that walking for at least 2.5 hours a week, significantly reduces the risk of developing a stroke.
How much of the world do you need for meaningful clinical trials?. (2011). European Heart Journal, 32(24), pp.3057-3063.
Slattery, M. (1996). How Much Physical Activity Do We Need to Maintain Health and Prevent Disease? Different Diseases-Different Mechanisms. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 67(2), pp.209-212.