You don’t have to walk to the moon and back before you start to notice health improvements.
Experts recommend adults complete at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day – a surprisingly achievable target! Get your daily dose of exercise and burn some calories with one simple workout – brisk walking.
Not only can you incorporate it into your daily life fuss-free, brisk walking also goes relatively easy on your joints while getting your heart rate up. Discover how one convenient workout can improve your health, no matter how old you are. And wait… it gets better… brisk walking is completely free!
What’s in it for me?
Brisk walking regularly reaps many benefits.
1. Lose weight
If you are a 24-year-old 5’6” (168cm), 130 lbs (60kg) woman walking at 3mph (4.8km/h) for 30 minutes a day, you stand to burn 103 calories every day. That’s almost equivalent to a can of sugary soft drink! Keep trim by going for regular brisk walks and managing your calorie intake.
2. Manage pre-existing conditions
Brisk walking daily helps you prevent or manage health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Working up a sweat can lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, while also improving blood circulation and overall heart health.
3. Strengthen your bones and improve your balance
A weight-bearing exercise like brisk walking does wonders to strengthen your bones and muscles. It helps increase bone density and tone several muscle groups, like your calves and hamstrings. It also helps you avoid serious health complications from poor balance by building lower-body strength, an important element of good balance.
4. Improve your mood
Studies have shown that walking can improve your mood. Chemicals called endorphins are released by your body when you exercise, triggering feelings of euphoria and general well-being.
3 ways to make the most of your 30 minutes
1. Challenge yourself
Many of us live or work in high-rise buildings. Taking the stairs might leave you a little sweaty but it is an excellent way to fire up your muscles and heart rate. As you progress, adjust the levels of difficulty by increasing your speed, adding ankle weights or by choosing an inclined path over flat ground. Studies have found that an increase in walking speed can raise metabolic rates up to 20 per cent.
2. Make it social
Go to local hiking trails with your family or group of friends on the weekends. The change in pace and scenery can be a breath of fresh air, especially if you live in a city. Just be sure to come prepared in proper attire, with plenty of water and, of course, sunblock.
3. Do things for your convenience and capability
Easily incorporate walking into your everyday routine by making small changes. Get lunch from somewhere further away than your usual place or get off the bus one stop earlier to sneak a brisk walk into an otherwise busy day.
Remember to set realistic goals for yourself. Start small, before increasing the distance walked and the walking speed, and bear in mind any injuries or discomforts you might have. Keeping fit is important and should not come at the expense of your safety.
Leading an active lifestyle doesn’t have to involve throwing money at personal trainers or going to the best gyms. If you have the drive to keep fit, your daily world is your gym. Just remember to always consult your doctor before any rigorous exercise.