The Health Benefits of Walking for Exercise

Find tips for easy to do fitness walking, health advantages of walking, and ideal walking gear for every walker whether beginner or advanced.

Walking, an activity that nearly everyone does every day is the number one activity everywhere in the world. Walking holds claim to the number one participation sport the world over. The major reason for this top spot is the ease with which it is done. Walking does not require any special skill, equipment, or clothing.

Health Benefits of Walking

Walking is, most likely, the safest exercise one can do. There is no prior training required nor does it require an overt amount of physical exertion. In spite of that, walking can be just as effective in assisting with weight loss. Other health benefits of walking include:

  • an easing of back pain
  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing levels of bad cholesterol
  • reducing the risk of heart disease
  • enhancing stamina and energy
  • lessening anxiety and tension
  • improving muscle tone
  • slowing down of bone loss due to osteoporosis

The Best Walking Equipment

There is a wide array of walking equipment available from gear for people on a budget to those for whom money is no object. While one can, there is no need to spend a lot of money on walking equipment. There are a few necessities when it comes to successful walking along with a few items that are simply beneficial.

The most integral piece of walking equipment is shoes. Walking shoes can be the difference between having fun while exercising and being in pain. It is extremely important to acquire a good pair of walking shoes with the following characteristics:

  • support and comfort for all parts of the foot
  • enough room so that the toes can wiggle
  • firm support for the heel
  • a flexible cushioned sole to aid walking gait and absorb shock
  • made of breathable material to allow perspiration to dissipate
  • lightweight

Other beneficial, but not essential, walking gear includes pedometers and reflective lights. Pedometers are an ideal way to enhance walking. It is fun to know how many steps and/or how many miles or kilometres one has walked. A pedometer is a great way to keep track of progress towards goals. Most pedometers also calculate calories burned. If one decides to walk in the early morning or late evening, reflective vests and/or bands are essential for safety. Small blinking lights or flashlights will also work for this purpose.

Walk 10,000 Steps a Day

Health experts recommend approximately 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. The 10K-A-DAY program exceeds this recommendation. This is where a pedometer is most beneficial as it will tabulate steps taken during each day. It is suggested that one keep a walking journal or calendar to log daily steps and keep track of progress. If a weight loss goal is involved, 12,000 steps may be a more significant goal to work towards.

Prior to any walk, it is always a good idea to do a warm-up and stretch. A moderately paced, five-minute walk followed by calf, Achilles, hamstring, and quadricep stretches are suggested. This warm-up period will help loosen muscles and lessen the chance of injury. At the end of any walk, a cool down period is beneficial. Another five minutes should be spent slowing one’s heart rate, rather than stopping abruptly. Stretching once again is also a good idea.

Do’s and Dont’s of Fitness Walking

There are a few things to remember before beginning a walking program, including the following:

  • Do see a doctor before beginning any exercise program. He or she will be able to assist in the development of an appropriate routine.
  • Do drink water before, during, and after a walk.
  • Do eat well, avoiding foods high in fat and cholesterol.
  • Don’t continue walking if chest pains, dizziness, pain, or severe shortness of breath occur.
  • Don’t walk right after or before meals. Wait two hours after a meal to walk and 20 minutes prior to eating after a walk.
  • Don’t walk outdoors in extreme weather conditions. Find a walking track indoors as an alternative.

Enjoy walking as part of a regular daily routine. The health benefits are endless and the activity is simple and inexpensive to begin and maintain. Make walking a family affair and/or invite friends along as well. Walking can make a significantly positive difference in the life of people of all ages.

Stress and Yoga

Stress, anxiety, anger and frustration have terrible consequences on physical and mental health. Yoga helps neutralize these harsh effects on health.

When life gets chaotic and stressful, it is all too easy to feel overpowered and crushed by the various events happening around. Uncertainty, indecision, and dissatisfaction surface, and the mind seem to be exploding. Tension, worry, anxiety, apprehension, fear and emotional upheavals, all take a very heavy toll on the health. Stress causes a host of psychological and physical disorders. Recurrent headaches, muscle pains, backache, insomnia, elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, cardiac disorders, hair loss, mood swings, rage, and depression are just a few of the dreadful consequences of stress.

What can be Done About Stress?

Primarily, one needs to take action before a ‘burn out’. Determine the cause of stress and work towards alleviating it. Practice healthy living. Follow a healthy and habitual regimen. Eat right, sleep well, follow a hobby, and most essentially be grateful of the body and treasure it.

Yoga is a powerful discipline that helps lessen the impact of stress successfully.

Counter-acting Stress through Yoga

Yoga is a very ancient science that helps one attain ‘communion with God’. Drawn from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, it unites the individual soul or the ‘Jivatma’ with the universal soul or the ‘Paramatma‘.

The regular and sustained practice of Yoga offers significant long-term benefits. It works powerfully at the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. It provides an immediate ‘feel good’ and buoyant effect. Yoga boosts energy levels and suffuses one with a sense of well being and peace. It keeps a whole range of lifestyle and metabolic disorders at bay. Yoga eradicates unnecessary mental clutter and pessimism and infuses serenity.

The Benefits of Yoga Practice

Chiefly, Yoga operates on the subtle energies in the body. The graceful and free flowing movements of the Yoga Asanas, maintain a good flow of the Prana or the vital force, in the body. Yoga balances the flow of the vital energy and checks an excess or a shortage of the Prana.

Most people have sedentary, desk-bound jobs, with virtually no activity. Yoga guarantees a supple and agile body. It enhances the supply of oxygen to all the cells in the body, betters the mobility of joints, tones up the gastric organs, and improves balance.

Yoga has a strong effect on mental health. It increases concentration, improves memory and calms the mind. Yoga encourages peace and level-headedness, by helping one tackle stressful conditions and encourages hope and living in the present moment.

A Yoga Technique that Provides Complete Peace and Calmness

Shashankasana is a wonderful Yoga posture that is easy to perform on a daily basis and instils profound peace and relaxation. One comes out of this asana feeling revived and rejuvenated.

The technique :

  • Kneel on to the yoga mat. Then, sit down with the buttocks on to the feet. Place the palms on the thighs and keep the spine erect.
  • Raise the arms, parallel to the thighs, at the level of the chest.
  • Gradually lean the body forwards, so that the chest is flattened against the thighs, and the arms are stretched straight forwards, on the floor.
  • Let the forehead touch the floor.
  • Relax into the pose. Hold the asana for about 2 to 3 minutes.

This asana lets go of all tension and stress effectively. It soothes the mind, relaxes the body and generates inner peace.

Learn to Sleep More and Better Every Night

Reduce Anxiety and Create a Schedule to Get More Sleep At Night

Most doctors agree that the average adult needs about eight hours of sleep, yet most adults are lucky to get six hours of sleep.

Between everything that needs to be done each day, tossing and turning, and daily worries, many people believe there just isn’t enough time for restful, healthy sleep. Some of the steps below can help to increase the quality and amount of sleep each night.

Go to Bed Earlier and Stick to a Schedule for a Better Night’s Sleep

Gradually increasing the time spent in bed each night will eventually lead to an increased time spent sleeping. If a person goes to bed even just 10 minutes earlier each week, they will gradually increase the amount of time they are in bed resting, and in a month, will spend at least 40 minutes more in bed each night – hopefully leading to an increase in time spent sleeping. And even if sleep does not come immediately, more time spent resting will be beneficial the next day.

Keeping a schedule is important to sleeping better, too. If a person goes to bed around the same time each night and gets up at the same time every day, the body will be conditioned to expect to be asleep between those hours. Stick to the schedule every day, even on weekends and days off, and the body will respond with a more fulfilling and restful night.

Remove Distractions from the Bedroom to Sleep Heavily

Bedrooms are for sleeping. They are not watching television, surfing the Internet, or doing laundry. A bedroom should be a safe haven, associated with restfulness and relaxation, and bringing a television or a computer into that safe haven can increase anxiety. If the body is conditioned to do little more than sleep in the bedroom, it will know exactly what to do when it comes time for sleep, and the mind will follow suit. Occupying the mind with distractions is detrimental to an easy sleeping environment.

If the body does not relax immediately and the mind runs wild, keep a journal or notebook on the nightstand. When an idea pops into the mind, write it down in the notebook and forget about it until the morning. Anxiety is the number one reason people cannot sleep at night, and if the idea is written down it can be forgotten until morning – a more appropriate time to deal with the problem – leaving more time for sleep.

Revamp the Bedroom for Better Sleep

Anxiety is the number one reason people cannot sleep at night, and the number two reason is too much light coming in through windows and doorways. Blackout window shades can be purchased to help reduce light from outside, and in addition, the shades also will help to reduce sound, as they are designed to absorb outside distractions.

Another reason why people often cannot sleep is that they need a new mattress. Many mattresses come with at least a 10-year warranty, but the average person will replace their mattress after only 7.8 years. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them are dust mites. Dust mites breed in mattresses, breaking down foam units and other components in the bed, making it feel different and uncomfortable over time. The goal is to spend one-third of the day in the mattress (eight hours) and thus one-third of the life. Therefore, a good mattress is one of the most important components for sleeping well.

Sleeping well is not a habit, but rather a lifestyle, and learning to sleep better will take time. Be patient and make a few simple changes at a time. If only one or two of these suggestions are followed, a person will find they are able to sleep better and for longer at night, hopefully increasing the overall quality of life. If all of the habits and suggestions are followed, a person will find themselves headed toward a sleeping makeover, thus changing their life.


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