Amongst the fitness ‘trends’ that have taken off during the pandemic, is our renewed love of walking. While we might have been limited to the locations around our homes during lockdown, we are now free to explore the beauty of the UK, from the South West Coast Path to the Lake District and beyond. What many of us will have discovered in this time, is that while we might think sweating it out in the gym is the best way to great abs, for overall fitness, there are few things as beneficial as walking. Here are a few of the health benefits of walking.
One of the things that we often find is that sitting down in a sedentary job all day can really give you cold feet and hands. Lots of people suffer from poor circulation, but walking can increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. It also helps to increase cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness.
Consistent walking is a wonderful way to improve muscle strength and tone in your legs and abdomen. In particular, if you choose to walk in hilly terrain, you can really get a good workout from it. It’s a sustainable way of exercising and pretty low risk on the injury front – commit to a reasonable length walk each day and you would be amazed at the impact on your strength!
From simply wearing you out to the exposure to natural light from walking outside helping entrain a strong circadian rhythm, which promotes healthy sleep, walking can really help with sleeplessness. The impact it has on stress levels and anxiety can also help you to sleep better, so it’s great for all round wellbeing.
As with any exercise, walking releases endorphins, known for their feel good factor. Physical exercise is known to help reduce/manage stress, anxiety and fatigue. Even a gentle stroll can make a big difference.
Bone is living tissue and becomes stronger with exercise, and as walking involves your feet and legs supporting your weight so that your bones have to work harder and this makes them stronger. However, it’s not as heavy impact as something like running, on joints. A brisk walk is most beneficial for bone health. It can also improve management of conditions like joint and muscular pain or stiffness.
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