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  • Health Benefits of Going for a Walk

Is Walking a Good Workout Plan?

The best part of walking aside from its health benefits is that it can be done anywhere and it is free.

You have heard all the health benefits of cardio and want to add it to your workout, but sweating it out in a spin class or running a marathon is just not your pace; can walking work? It turns out you don’t have to go to extremes to enjoy the many health benefits of low impact cardio like walking.

Any activity that gradually gets your heart rate up is good for your cardiovascular health, improving mood, increasing energy etc, and this is exactly what happens when you walk at a brisk pace.

Many people enjoy the challenge of intense cardio like running, kick boxing, cross fit, muscle pump and training for races or events, but adding walking to your workout is a great way to get your heart pumping and enjoy the many benefits of exercise without over doing it.

Health Benefits of Going for a Walk

A brisk (like you are a bit late for something!) 30 minute walk can:

Reduce Risk 

Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure.

Improve Mood 

Exercise, including walking, releases feel-good endorphins that improve your mood while also reducing stress and anxiety. Even better if you can walk outside and enjoy nature for improving your mood.

Increase Memory 

According to a 2011 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, elderly subjects who walked for 40 minutes three times a week for a year experienced a 2 percent average increase in the size of the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion.

Tone Muscles 

Walking gives your glutes a workout and tones legs including hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps. With proper posture and added walking poles you can get an upper body workout too that tones your arms, waist and abs.

Boost of Energy 

Fresh air and increasing your heart rates give you a boost in circulation, increases oxygen supply, and added bonus of vitamin D if you are walking outside.

Regulates Blood Sugar 

Big meals can wreak havoc on blood-sugar levels and leave you feeling sluggish, but not if you time your walks appropriately. A 2013 study published in Diabetes Care found that three 15-minute post-meal walks each day were more effective at regulating blood-sugar levels than was a single 45-minute walk midmorning or in the afternoon.

Low Impact 

Get all the benefits of a cardio workout without the added pressure on joints and legs. Walking is low impact on joints but that doesn’t mean it has to be low on intensity. You can ramp up the intensity by increasing speed, adding hills, Nordic walking poles or even climbing a few stairs.

Lose or Maintain Weight 

A 20 minute 2km (1.2mi) walk can burn over 100 calories. Increase the speed or intensity with hills and you will not only increase the amount of calories burned, but also the amount of muscle tone achieved. Don’t underestimate the power of a power walk!

Walk This Way

The best part of walking aside from its health benefits is that it can be done anywhere and it is free.

You can walk on the beach, or on the boardwalk, in the trails, through the snow, under a waterfall, or over a hill. You can walk with your dog, with your neighbour, your friends, your family or on your own.

You can walk to the park, walk up stairs, walk to the store, around a track, on a treadmill or in the mall.

The possibilities are endless and the benefits priceless. Add walking to your workout and then grab a buddy and share the benefits of walking with others.