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5 health benefits of walking
Walking is a simple way to improve your overall health. Walking can offer many benefits to people of all ages and fitness level. Walking is free and easy to start. Physical activity does not have to be vigorous to improve your health. Something as simple as taking a 30-minute walk a day can have a massive effect on fitness and wellbeing. Walking is low impact, requires no equipment and can be completed at your own pace.
ACH Group’s exercise physiologist – Jack Carter discusses 5 benefits of walking and how walking can impact your overall health and wellbeing.
Depending on your fitness goal, walking can help maintain your weight or even lose weight. Reducing body weight helps lower the impact on joints. Your body needs energy for all types of movements. Daily calorie needs differ from person to person and are affected by factors like your weight, gender and activity level. Fun fact, walking one mile burns around 100 calories. If you want to intensify your walk to burn more calories, try walking on an incline. Walking on an incline also increases your leg muscle activation and strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and calves.
Strengthens the heart
Walking improves cardiovascular fitness and enhances pulmonary function. Research has shown a 30-minute of daily walking can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 18-20%. Researchers found that walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and cut the risk of dying by 32%. If you find it difficult to complete a 30-minute walk, start small. Break your 30 minutes into smaller and achievable goals. For example, you can walk for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 during lunch time and 10 minutes walking before or after dinner. If you’re time short, you can break your 30 minutes into three 10-minute sessions for 5 days.
Reduce joint pain
Walking supports and strengthens the muscles surrounding the joints. Less impact on joints means lower pain when moving. There is growing evidence that walking can ease arthritis pain and improve other symptoms. Walking can help improve stiffness, fight off fatigue and reduce joint pain. Walking helps improve your range of motion and keep you active. Always consult with your GP before taking any new physical activity and especially if you have arthritis. You can also speak with your exercise physiologist or personal trainer for advice about how to build your routine and make the most of this exercise.
Improve balance and mobility
Walking improves your coordination and balance which reduces risk of falls. It also helps prevent injury and improve limb control. Studies found that walking among older adults could be more effective for fall prevention than balance training. For safety, always check with your GP about your walking plan and how to get started safely.
Enhance circulation and greater blood flow
Walking improves feeling in extremities and shown to reduce the risk of coronary blockages, especially in older adults. Walking, either brisk walking, incline walking or a casual walk around the block helps increase blood flow throughout your body and helps lower blood pressure.
Walking safety tips
It is important to consider your safety while walking. Follow these 7 handy walking safety tips before you get started:
- Walk in areas designated for pedestrians. Look for well-lit areas if possible.
- If you walk in the evening or early morning hours, wear a reflective vest or light so cars can see you.
- Wear correct fitting shoes with good heel and arch support. Speak with your podiatrist to make sure you have the right shoes and the right support before taking up walking.
- Drink plenty of water before and after your walk to stay hydrated.
- You can also recruit a friend or family member to walk with you and hold you accountable.
- Consider getting a pedometer or other fitness tracker to keep track of your daily steps.
ACH Group offers allied health services provided by our experienced health care professionals to help you stay healthy as you age. We offer a wide range of services from physiologist, exercise physiologist, personal training, occupational therapy, massage therapy, podiatry to dietetics. We specialise in health and wellbeing for ageing bodies and our qualified health specialists will work with you on a personalised plan to help achieve your goals. Contact us on 1300 22 44 77 and speak to our friendly team to find out how we can help.