Walk Your Way to Good Health
By: Daven Borders, Community Health Leader
Staying fit and healthy does not require you to go to the gym or practice intense exercise. You can do wonders to improve your health simply by making walking a part of your lifestyle. According to a study made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, walking is one of the most famous forms of aerobic exercise in the US.
Power walking is a type of exercise that involves walking at the speed of the upper limit of the natural ability for walking. Generally, this speed varies between 4.5 mph to 5.5 mph. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the ideal walking duration for an individual is 2 ½ hours (150 minutes) per week. The average walking speed is 3 to 4 miles per hour.
Walking is a free and easy-to-fit exercise into your daily routine. It will help you lead a happier, healthier, and brainier life. Walking has been an effective way to burn calories. The calories burned depend on varying factors, such as the walking speed of a person, the walking distance covered, and the walking incline. Changing the intensity and location of a walk is vital to increasing the number of calories you burn. For example, brisk walking can help you burn 100 to 300 calories in 30 minutes.
Regular walking promotes good physical health and weight loss. Walking burns calories, and the more calories you burn, the more fat you lose. Some studies show that for an overweight individual, walking can be far more effective in weight loss than a calorie-restricted diet.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Fast-paced walking is a great way to good physical health. It increases blood circulation in your legs and results in the heart pumping more blood to the cells. This increased cardiovascular activity enhances the heart rate, and as a result, the heart gets stronger.
Better Bone Health
According to some guidelines set by the American College of Sports Medicine, the power of a walk helps you maintain good skeletal health. One of the most fundamental reasons walking is best for bones is that it is a load-bearing activity. Therefore, it compels you to work against the earth’s gravity and gives a beneficial resistance for maintaining good bone health.
Walking can prevent many ailments such as high cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. According to a study made by the American Diabetes Association, walking daily for 30 minutes reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 50%. It also brings good health by improving HDL (good cholesterol because it is linked with better heart health) and reducing non-HDL levels.
Walking Benefits Your Mental Health
Studies have shown that exercise and walking are great for your mental health. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health documented that one hour of walking can reduce the risk of major depression by 26% because walking also releases endorphins, which are powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, walking can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
Now that you know some of the benefits of walking on your physical and mental health, make a small change and get started today by parking a little further from the entrance at your next grocery store visit or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Join Healthy St. Pete for a free Trail Fun Run or Walk, every 2nd Saturday of the month at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve with coaches from St. Pete Running Company. Or, join in a Neighborhood Walk every 4th Saturday of the month. Check out the locations and more information here: https://www.healthystpetefl.com/wellness-champions/.
View more information for Healthy St. Pete classes and class schedules on our website at www.healthystpetefl.com/st-pete-healthy-events/