Walking, like yoga, seems to have become a new age therapy, We often feel the need to force fit it into our daily schedule. But in reality, it is mans’ most natural way of getting from one place to the other. It existed much before the wheel, or any other form of transportation was invented. We are a race of natural walkers, and for a long time we enjoyed the benefits of walking; a healthier heart, reduced body fat, better flexibility and most importantly, better mental health. Over the years, advances in technology made many of us sedentary, but today, people are once again realizing the immense value of a daily walk.
The benefits of walking are many. To begin with, walking is simple and easy. It is the simplest form of aerobic exercise. It requires no fancy equipment, no large investment, no instructor and no special skill. It can be done by people of all ages, shapes and sizes; all it requires is a good pair of walking shoes, and taking that first important step.
Being an aerobic exercise, walking provides other benefits. It improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system – gets the heart pumping, enables better blood circulation and keeps the heart healthy. The faster and longer you walk, the more fat you burn which results in reduced body fat and weight. Medically, this also translates into reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke and other related illnesses. Regular walkers have also been known to demonstrate reduced cholesterol, greater flexibility and lower blood pressure in comparison to others. Walking has also been known to increase bone density, resulting in the prevention of osteoporosis, especially in women who are more prone to the condition than men.
While many experts talk about the physical benefits of walking, the mental health benefits are also immense. Ask a walker what he gets out of an early morning walk and he is sure to talk about greater relaxation, a sense of well-being and the overall meditative experience. No surprise then that walking regularly is known to reduce the risk of depression and insomnia. And there are more benefits of walking. Walking can be very social. Walking with friends or family is a healthy alternative to sedentary activities.
It is probably hard to digest that something so simple can offer such an incredible number of benefits, but millions of walkers the world over will agree that all it takes is a few steps in the right direction to change your life.