Going for a walk has always been a simple yet enjoyable pastime for generations. Before modern transportation, people everywhere often walked to get around – many still do. That may be one reason they stay slimmer and in good health.
Researchers continue to find that walking may be one of the best exercises you can do. Not long ago, people were encouraged to walk 10,000 steps a day. That is quite a lot of steps, and you probably do not have the time for that many on most days.
Recent studies reveal that walking has benefits that can reduce the likelihood of dying from any disease. Even as few as 2,337 steps have results that reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, with almost 700,000 deaths annually.
Walking farther can give you even better health. Getting just 4,000 steps a day (brisk walking equals about 2.1 miles) decreases your risk of early death from all diseases. Walking 30 minutes at a time with a moderate pace enables you to go about 1.5 to 2 miles.
People with more time who want to ensure even better health might aim for 20,000 steps a day. It has even better health benefits.
Interestingly, it was discovered that the more you walk, the better the health benefits you will have. Researchers do not believe that there is a maximum number of benefits you can receive once you reach a certain distance. The benefits only increase the farther you walk – and so does your longevity.
When combining walking for weight loss with a reduction of calories, the more weight you will lose. Of course, walking is just good exercise and not just for weight loss.
There are many benefits to walking 30 minutes a day for five days a week, it can strengthen your heart and bones, help reduce excess weight, and increase muscle strength, balance, and endurance. Moderate exercise also helps reduce your risk of stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and osteoporosis.
Another health benefit of walking is that it lowers your risk of developing dementia. About 4,000 steps a day reduces the likelihood, but more (up to 9,800) may be even better.
When you walk, there is a tendency for your body to get accustomed to the exercise, which means you will likely start to see fewer benefits if you walk the same every day. You can overcome this tendency by changing where you walk, and you might include some hills, some stairs, increasing your walking speed, or going farther.
Use a pedometer when you walk to determine how far you go each day. You only need to walk five days a week if you exercise 30 minutes at a time. Get some good walking shoes, and enlist a friend to walk with you. On warmer days, take water to prevent dehydration.
You may also find that one of the best places to walk is in parks. It lets you see various sights, including nature, animals, and plants near the path. Although you could take music with you, getting away from electronics and enjoying nature during that time may be more relaxing and beneficial.
Walking after eating is also recommended if your blood sugar tends to spike after you eat. A spike takes place about 60 to 90 minutes after eating. A fast walk can help lower or even prevent the spike because of the extra calories you burn while you walk.