One piece of advice you are bound to receive regardless of the physician you are talking to is to take up daily 30-minute walks. But why is that, what makes walking so important that you have to do it daily? This is a question most modern individuals ask as they find it hard to take themselves away even for half an hour from their mundane activities, our jobs and personal lives being now more chaotic than ever. However, the truth is that you have to make an effort and fit this routine into your schedule no matter what as the benefits you reap are substantial for the way you look, the state of your health, and for your mind.
You might be tempted to think that walking is the safest form of exercise that you can perform and that there are no risks involved with it, but the truth is that, just like any other activity, when done improperly, abusively, or with the wrong gear on, walking can put you in danger. Before we promote the positives of daily 30-minute walks, let’s first cover the basics in what concerns safety to keep you out of harm’s way:
- Start with a light warm-up session to stretch those tense muscles a bit, and follow up with a proper cool down when you finish.
- As beautiful as the scenery might be on your route, literally watch out where you are walking so that you won’t get hurt.
- Drink sufficient fluids before and after the session to ensure proper hydration and avoid the negative effects which ensue when you sweat excessively and you haven’t drank enough water to compensate.
- Wear comfy footwear that doesn’t produce blisters and shin splints.
- The clothing you put on should be loose and comfortable, allowing your skin to breathe.
- Check the weather forecast before you leave home to see if an umbrella is needed on your quest or not.
- During the sunny seasons, wear sunscreen and sunglasses to avoid UV ray damage.
Reasons why 30 minutes of walking per day are mandatory
- Reduce stress – Stress is a leading cause for most illnesses, and you can reduce it by simply walking outdoors and breathing in some fresh air. As you walk, your blood circulation improves and helps lower stress levels by providing more oxygen and nutrients to cells while stimulating the nervous system receptors and decreasing the production of the hormone that causes your stressed out state to begin with.
- Increased productivity and creativity – No matter if you are a student, an employee, or a business owner, one thing you surely want to work on is your productivity. If you noticed that it hasn’t been going up for a long time, walking is the solution to your problem as it helps you become more active and energetic, which, in return, will cause an increase in your productivity at school or work.
- Meet new people – No matter the route you pick, you are bound to bump into others as well, and you are bound to eventually end up chatting with new people as we are social animals who feel the need to meet new people, create new connections, and listen to new stories. Socializing while you are on your daily walk will help further reduce stress and prevent depression, another perk that you can list as a pro.
- Increase lung capacity – When you walk, as opposed to when you are stationary, you breathe in more oxygen. As you inhale more oxygen and release carbon dioxide at higher volumes, your lung capacity is bound to increase, and alongside it, so will your exercise performance and stamina.
- Stronger muscles and bones – As we all age, our bones and muscles inevitably become weaker, but a big difference can be made by walking daily as this joint and muscle friendly activity increases muscle and bone strength without impacting you negatively. Regular walks prevent muscle loss, but more importantly, help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis, and mellow down the pain felt by those who already suffer from these diseases.
- Improved heart health – Scientists have already proven that walking reduces the risk of heart and cardio diseases, so if you want to lead a long and healthy life and make sure that your ticker stays in a good shape throughout the years, this is one routine you should not give up on.
- Helps with weight loss – As walking is an exercise on its own, it does help in the weight loss process. Just don’t rely on it solely to do the trick as it must be combined with healthy eating habits, a proper sleeping schedule, proper hydration, and preferably 2-3 days per week where you insert other more soliciting exercises as well. However, on its own, walking 30 minutes per day should help you remove about 5 pounds over the span of 2 months.
- Improved intelligence – Yes, while it may seem like this statement is a bit too much, it’s actually as true as it gets. As you are walking outdoors, your brain is supplied with the amount of oxygen and glucose it needs to function better. You will notice major differences in your memory and cognitive functions as well as a result of better oxygenation of the brain.
- Reduces risk of diabetes – The sedentary lifestyle most Americans lead is to blame for the exponential growth of diabetes cases, the apparition of this diseases being easily preventable with a simple walk each day. Scientists even recommend walking approximately 7500 steps per day in individuals who suffer from type 2 diabetes as a form of treatment, the mild exercise benefiting health more than you could imagine.
- Fight cancer – One of the main causes for the apparition of cancer in an overly sedentary lifestyle, so walking can make a huge difference towards cancer prevention, especially in women as it is a main player in the fight against breast cancer. In individuals who suffer from the dreaded disease, walking has proved to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy as well, making them feel better.
How to make walking more pleasurable
If the reasons we previously listed were enough to convince you to take up daily 30-minute walking sessions, yet you still have slight doubts about taking this habit up, it might be because you find it tedious. So, if you don’t plan on taking others along with you on your daily walks to have people to talk to, which would be the ideal solution to keep yourself entertained while you move your feet, you could try putting on your headphones and listening to music. After about 10 of your favorite songs pass, the session will be already over and you won’t have felt the time passing either at all as your mind would focus on the lyrics and line of sound.
You should also change sceneries and not resume to walking daily in the same part of town. Instead, change parks and areas where you get your move on, if money and time allows it, a couple of times per week even going to a different city to explore it while you exercise to stay healthy and fit. If you have a dog, man’s best friend would make for the ultimate walking buddy as the animal enjoys the activity too, and you both love each other anyway, so the pet’s companionship would be irreplaceable. You can even join a walking club if there’s one in your area, this way getting to meet new people and create new friendships as well, which is all the more rewarding.