Why a Brisk Daily Walk Can Significantly Alter a Person’s Physiology For the Better
It has long been commonly held that there is virtually no better remedy to calm a racing mind or shake off mental cobwebs than a neighborhood stroll, but the benefits of walking are not limited to a sharper, calmer, and happier state of mind. Walking is also one of the best ways to improve one’s overall physical health. In fact, fostering a daily habit of walking for only thirty minutes can fine-tune and reshape the body for the better in many different ways. Avid fitness enthusiast, Peter Nyberg provides a short list of precisely how.
Walking Burns Calories and Prevents Weight Gain
Although activities like running or jogging tend to hog the spotlight in terms of burning off calories and counteracting the accumulation of body fat, it may come as a surprise to some people that walking does nearly as good a job. A half hour walk each day will burn off approximately one hundred and fifty calories. In fact, a recent study from Harvard Medical School found that taking regular walks can reduce the obesity producing effects of thirty-two genes in the human body.
Walking Fends Off Medical Problems
“Much like running or jogging, walking is an activity that engages the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and all major muscle groups” claims Nyberg. As a result, if done consistently for a long enough period of time, walking will not only burn off calories and facilitate weight loss, but also reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as mitigate muscle pain and stiffness. All that being said, when contrasted with running or jogging, it is important to note that while walking will accomplish all of these things, it will accomplish them more gradually—meaning that a thirty minute walk is roughly the equivalent in exercise to a fifteen minute run. However, on other side of that, walking is much easier on the joints than either running or jogging, and results in far less wear and tear on the body.
Walking Strengthens Bones and Muscles
A consistent habit of walking strengthens muscles, especially the thighs and calves. It has very beneficial effects on tendons, such as hamstrings, too. That much may seem intuitive, but what may not is how good walking is for bolstering bone health. According to the National Institute of Health, walking can markedly improve bone density, especially in those of middle or advanced age. Bone, like muscle, is living tissue, and greatly benefits from weight-bearing or resistance exercises, such as walking.
Peter Nyberg on How Walking Improves Mobility, Balance, and Posture
Though the basics of walking are instinctively understood by all able-bodied people, Peter Nyberg claims that the world-famous Mayo Clinic has published some specific recommendations on walking technique to encourage better mobility, balance, and posture. To turn a normal walk into an all-encompassing fitness stride, the head ought to be kept up and facing forward rather than looking at the ground. A downcast gaze is very bad for the posture. The neck and shoulders should be relaxed, and the back should be straight—but not arched, or stiff and upright. Finally, to encourage core strength and help with balance, the stomach muscles ought to be slightly tightened.
In conclusion, any amount of walking is beneficial in reshaping the body for the better, but the faster, farther, and more frequently a person walks will result in a commensurate amount of physical benefits. Walking for thirty minutes every day at a moderate intensity is an ideal place to start.