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Walking For Fitness, Health Benefits, Weight Loss & Happiness - A Way Of Life

Walking is easy, free and one of the least complicated ways to get more active, shed extra pounds and become healthier and stronger.

Occasionally disregarded as a means of exercise, walking briskly will allow you to build stamina, shed surplus calories and make your cardiovascular system healthier and stronger. You don't need to walk for an long period of time - however if you do you will reap some extra benefits.

If you are new to walking and exercise in general, then start off slow, building up your walking base before taking on longer, harder challenges.

One of the great things about walking is that you don't need loads of gear if you are a beginner and want to stick to shorter walking. A comfortable and well sitting shoes or trainers are a must though. You chosen footwear should provide the ankles with adequate support and not cause blisters from being too tight.

If you're walking to work, you could wear your usual work clothes with a comfy pair of shoes and change shoes when you get into work. This depends on the pace you are going to be walking at. If it is at a slow and leisurely pace, then regular clothes are fine. If you are going to be putting in some effort and might build up a sweat - take a change of clothes with you.

For longer walks in the countryside, along canals or hiking trails, you may want to invest is some more specialist gear and equipment. Take some water in a hydration bladder that holds enough water for your walk. Take with you some healthy snacks for when you need that boost of energy. A spare top, sunscreen and a sun hat in a small day pack and ruck sack.

If you start going for longer walks regularly (2 or 3 times a months), you may want to invest in a waterproof jacket and some specialist walking shoes for more challenging routes.

Health & Fitness Benefits Of Walking

Needless to say, you probably know that any physical exercise, including walking, can be a supercharge to your health and energy levels. However, walking specifically possesses a multitude of extra health benefits. Here you can find list of benefits that that could surprise you.

Burn Calories By Walking

Brisk walking may help you burn calories. Burning calories can help you to maintain or reduce weight. I tend to view calories not as a negative - I see them as energy and fuel. The more you move, the faster you move, the longer you move, the more energy and fuel you will need. In other words, the more calories you will need. You weight loss goals that you have - lose, maintain or maybe gaining weight - will determine how many calories you need throughout the day.

Your calorie burn would be determined by a number of factors, including:

  • Walking pace/speed - the faster you walk, the more calories you will burn.
  • Distance covered on your walk.
  • Terrain (you’ll use up more calories walking uphill than you’ll burn over a flat surface).
  • Your weight - the heavier you are, the more energy (calories) it will take to walk.

The above is just a guide, however it highlights the difference between walking at a slow paces vs a brisk pace in terms of the amount of calories burnt. If you are new to walking, like I have previously said - start off slow. As you build up your walking fitness you can add extra challenges such as speed and hill to give your walk a boost.

Ease Joint Pain By Walking Regularly

Walking can help you protect the joints, including your knees and hips. That’s due to the fact that it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints. Building muscles around your joints help support the joints and relieve strain and pressure on them.

Walking can also offer fitness benefits for people living with arthritic pain, such as decreasing pain. And walking 5 to 6 miles a week may also help prevent arthritis or slow down the on-set.

Furthermore, walking can increase levels of certain types of chemicals within your brain - known scientifically as neurotransmitters - it is these transmitters that will help your nervous system work efficiently. This can include a type of neurotransmitter that will reduce pain.

Boost Your Mood By Walking

Walking may also help your mental health and overall wellbeing and happiness. Research has revealed it will help reduce panic and anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. Additionally, it may enhance self-esteem and reduce signs and symptom

Walking and Everyday Life: Walking Is My Everyday Life

I started walking regularly back in March 2018. By regularly I mean I walked to and from work at least 4 times per week. To begin with it was with the aim of losing weight and improving my overall fitness levels. After a few months I fell in love with walking and ditched the car completely and started walking to work everyday. I've now transitioned to running as well as walk, but that's another stories - I still enjoy walking - walking dog twice a day and the odd longer walk when I need a rest from running.

For most people, walking is the easiest and cheapest way to meet physical activity recommendations. Walking is:

  • Free and requires no special equipment, training or gym or club memberships. The footpaths, canals and the countryside is your gym.
  • Available to almost everyone.
  • Safe and has a low-impact on your joints, with a low risk of injuries and accidents.
  • Easy to start slowly and build up gradually until you develop a really strong walking base.

Walking is also one of the easiest activities to fit into your everyday life:

  • You can walk from your house at a time that suits you and your lifestyle.
  • You can walk to work rather than drive. I found that it took the same amount of time to walk from my house to my place of work as it did to drive - when you factor in road traffic, parking and walking from the car park - it's a hell of a lot cheaper too.
  • You can use walking for everyday short journeys - to the shops, to visit a friend (Covid permitting (2020))
  • You don’t need to concentrate on the walking itself, leaving you free to enjoy your surroundings and what nature has to offer, chat to friends and family or just relax and be at peace with yourself.
  • You can enjoy a variety of surroundings (urban/city walking, viewing architecture, countryside, public gardens etc.) as you walk in different places and different seasons. I enjoy walking in all weather - even the rain - yup, that's right - I love walking in the rain. Walking in the rain is a new adventure, the ground feel different under foot and I like the challenge it presents.

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