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As infants, we all learn to walk as the first exercise. Most truly it also helps us build stronger bones and muscles, and provides us with a free-to-use workout pattern that we can put to some good use anytime. As we grow older, our lives become hectic, walking takes backstage (at least as a fitness exercise) and is replaced with driving. This often causes a dent in our health whose price is often paid as we age.
We thus asked our virtual fitness experts about what could be done to negate the issue. They offered us a simple walking workout plan that you can also use to rise above that challenge and achieve faster weight loss, better heart health, agility, flexibility, and metabolism rates. It’s up next!
Also read: Fitness regime in quarantine
As the first and most basic form of exercise, walking is not always about going from point A to point B. It is also about improving one’s blood circulation and respiratory systems, and it also helps us coordinate our motor control (or nervous system).
Walking, as an exercise, works best when we walk at a speed of about 4 km/h or more. As one takes up some brisk form of walking, one may also increase it to jogging or running after a certain period. It is advantageous to stick to (brisk) walking for several months in a row and increasing the distance traveled per unit time.
Here are several physical, mental, psychological, and emotional changes in our body as we take to any form of exercise. Since it is one of the simplest and easiest of all workouts to do, it can be undertaken in the early morning or late evening without much fuss.
Here’s why you should take to walking every day:
1. It boosts your mood
2. It can help you burn fat and lose weight faster
3. It helps your cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, and digestive systems work better
4. It controls blood pressure and blood sugar levels
5. It reduces body aches and joint pains
6. It improves bone density
7. It is appropriate for people with different age groups and fitness levels
8. It takes you away from the guilt of not working out
9. It helps you focus and help time for yourself
10. It tones your leg muscles
11. It improves immunity
12.You won’t need any specific gym gear for it
If you are just starting up, we recommend that you watch a few videos of how to use walking as an exercise. It will help you maximize the benefits in a shorter time.
What makes walking one of the best cardio exercises?
It would be better to first understand what a cardio exercise is. A Cardio exercise is a special form of aerobic exercise that focuses on strengthening the larger muscles in your body. As you continue to work out, you increase your heart rate (cardiac pulse) and hence the name cardio.
Walking helps your heart pump blood at a much faster rate than usual, thus driving more blood to your body in a much shorter time to cater to the increasing energy needs. As the stored energy gets used during this simplistic aerobic exercise, weight loss is an obvious result.
The simplest way to reach your fitness goals is to increase your daily step count and keep a track of it. You can get moving more often to spark up or resume an exercise habit. Even if you have been working out for years now, it may not be enough to combat the ill effects of hours of sitting. You may get started with something as simple as a bit of rambling around in your home or office to break the monotony.
Tip: A sedentary lifestyle is the first thing that you can beat with just five minutes of walking daily. You do not have to run to a park or lift irons in a gym to do it.
Adding more steps to your day is beneficial for your waistline and belly fat. The good effect expands to include your overall health and you can expect a lowered risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Yes, we know that walking is not a major calorie burner, but working on it continuously can help in making a big difference in your weight control.
This is an easy one. If you habitually walk for 150 minutes a day, you can start losing extra flab faster in a more calculated manner. You may burn about 100 calories by walking one mile- and you may increase the two numbers if you choose to walk more briskly.
The key to faster weight loss (including that on the midsection or belly) is to follow a restricted diet, pursue a fitness-centric diet, and stick to an hour each of (brisk) walking twice a day. You could achieve better results if you could add some jogging or sprinting to this schedule too.
Research conducted at Harvard Health Watch (2009) highlighted that individuals who walked regularly gained significantly less weight than those who didn’t. You must have heard that every individual should walk at least 10,000 steps a day, but this does not apply to everyone as everybody’s daily activity level is different.
The UK’s National Health Service highlighted that an average British adult walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps in a day. It could be incredibly difficult (and even unhealthy) for him to suddenly jump to 10,000 steps in a day.
It is not too difficult to take steps every day instead of driving one’s car or staying in one’s chair every day. You can get up and make some green tea for yourself, have some water, answer the doorbell, buy some groceries, or just amble around if you have some time.
As for now, here are some tips that you can use to add about 500 steps to your daily schedule every day. As you continue with them, you would be able to build up some steam for yourself and eventually walk up to 10,000 steps every day.
There’s no need to fit in all your steps in a single go. To gain more benefits and squeeze in more steps it is better that you spread them out throughout the day. If you often get stuck at work, try setting a reminder for every three hours and spend 10 to 15 minutes walking. If you could repeat this three times a day, it would be great!
A good idea to spend some time with your family and also squeeze in some steps would be to go for a post-dinner stroll with your family. Also, you can spend some time with your friends in the morning by going for a power walk with them. Sharing your steps with someone else is a great way to stay accountable and stick to your daily goal of walking more.
PS: You may also get a dog for yourself.
We have heard about taking the stairs instead of elevators or parking far away from stores while we go shopping, but how often do we do it? Climbing stairs burns a lot of energy, especially if you are going three floors above the ground. It also means that you should not take the elevator for several days at a stretch.
Walking indoors may be difficult because you may not know how and where to fit in the extra steps. So you can try indoor walking DVDs- they allow you to mix and match your miles to create your walking plan every day. This is a simple trick to walk more.
Make a simple rule – every time you would talk on the phone, you would walk. Whether you are in your office or at home, try to follow this rule. You would be amazed to see how you can turn every phone conversation into a walking one productively.
Also read: 14 Reasons Why Should Partners Workout Together
Next up is another crucial aspect of walking, jogging, or sprinting. It is about estimating how many steps you have to walk or run to achieve desired weight loss and then calculating if you have walked that distance too.
Caution: You cannot go on a walking or running spree unless you also eat a nutritious diet to back up your energy levels. It is important to stay away from junk foods and cola drinks altogether and replace them with healthier alternatives like quinoa and chia seeds and probiotic drinks.
Sciatica refers to that unbearable pain that is caused due to a herniated disc or bone shift in the spinal cord. This pain always travels downward to the legs and usually affects only one-half of the body.
Walking helps you strengthen all parts of your lower body. As you continue to work on them, you can expect a gradual but linear relief from this pain over a certain period. It is important to not do anything strenuous like lifting weights or gym-based leg toning exercises during the period.
You would also do well not to make sharp twists to your body like bending over or leaning forward suddenly. You should also walk at a much slower pace if you are suffering from this pain for quite some time now.
Disclaimer: Walking can help you release endorphins and other pain-relieving hormones in your body but it cannot cure you permanently on its own. We recommend you consult a healthcare expert promptly to get rid of sciatica.
To understand how you may walk more without feeling tired, it is important to get an online calendar for yourself. You can then go to this online calculator and feed in your biometric details like height and weight, and it will calculate the number of steps you need to walk every day.
This calendar can work as your go-to reference to check how much you walked on a certain day in the month, and what was your monthly average. This can also be made in the form of a chart with your name on top, and followed by the date on the lower left, distance walked and time taken on the lower right.
It is important to consult a personal fitness trainer to get the most out of the process. Before that, you should also get yourself a fitness tracker watch that fits your budget. It would keep time and track the distance that you have walked per unit time.
Once you have these details by your side, you can then show these details to your chosen trainer for more personalized and laser-focused guidance for walking as per your fitness goals. Regardless of whether you intend to lose some flab or for warm-up, you could now start on a more positive note.