By Jena Mays
Every year, the first Wednesday of April is National Walking Day. It’s a time to celebrate one of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise: walking. From aiding weight loss and improving heart health, to lowering blood pressure, walking offers a ton of benefits. Walking for thirty minutes a day can support your overall health, enhance wellbeing, and even reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Get Moving on National Walking Day
Whether it’s lowering your carbon footprint or getting more movement into your day, walking has endless benefits. This year, National Walking Day falls on April 6. As the name suggests, it’s a day that encourages anyone and everyone to get walking.
It costs nothing to step outside and walk to your local park. Walking is one of the easiest ways to get moving and improve your overall health. Regardless of your age or gender, it’s time to leave the car at home, get outside, and stretch your legs.
National Walking Day: How to Boost the Intensity of Your Walks
By Calvin J. Martin
Healthy Living: Eight Benefits of Walking
Walking is an excellent alternative to traditional exercise. If you’re searching for a reason to take a walk, look no further. Walking benefits your body and mind now and in the future.
1. Feel Grateful
It’s too easy to take walking for granted. So many of us are guilty of it. But if you can get out of your bed and use your own legs to move around, it’s a reason to be grateful. Appreciate your body for what it does for you every day.
Gratitude can help you feel more positive emotions and enjoy good experiences. Research shows that giving thanks can make you happier. When something as simple as walking makes you feel grateful and positive, it sets you up for a great day.
2. Boost Weight Loss
Regular physical activity is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight. Adding thirty minutes of brisk walking to your day could burn about 150 calories. The faster your pace, the more calories you burn.
For weight loss, exercise is just one part of the puzzle. Your diet and healthy lifestyle habits also have a role to play. Walking more supports healthy weight loss. If you’re new to regular exercise, start with short walks and build up the intensity as your body adjusts.
3. Support Heart Health
These days, people are sitting more than ever with work, TV, and laptops taking up a lot of time. All that sitting can have a negative impact on your heart. Walking for an extra thirty minutes each day can lower your heart disease and stroke risk by thirty-five percent.
Evidence suggests that walking more is the first step in cardiovascular disease prevention. Clinicians can prescribe walking to help patients meet activity recommendations to prevent heart disease.
4. Reduce Risk of Chronic Diseases
It’s not just heart disease that walking can help prevent. Even walking just a little may help you live longer. Studies show that walking is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and diabetes. While it’s difficult to say if walking will prevent cancer, it can form part of a healthy lifestyle that lowers the risk of chronic diseases.
Walking at any speed can help maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of several chronic diseases. Physical inactivity promotes a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and severe COVID-19 outcomes.
5. Lower Blood Pressure
When high blood pressure is left unchecked, it can lead to complications like:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Heart disease
High blood pressure usually occurs over time. Unhealthy lifestyle choices like not getting regular exercise can contribute to high blood pressure. Exercise works as a useful drug-free way to lower blood pressure. A thirty-minute walk each day could reduce blood pressure as much as standard medication. Walking more can help make your heart stronger while lowering blood pressure.
6. Improve Mood
Walking isn’t just good for the body, but the mind too. Being active can improve your mood, increase self-confidence, and reduce stress and anxiety. Research shows that walking for an hour a day reduces the risk of major depression.
Taking the stairs, putting the laundry away, or walking to your next meeting count as steps. Little actions add up over the day. You don’t need to be sweating and puffing to enjoy the mental health benefits of physical activity.
7. Prevent Disability
One hour of weekly walking can help prevent disability in older adults with osteoarthritis. That works out at less than ten minutes per day of walking to stave off disability. Activities like gardening and walking can help prevent problems with mobility as you get older.
8. Curb Cravings
Walking for fifteen minutes can help curb your cravings for high-calorie and sugary snacks. Taking a brisk walk during the day may keep your mind off snacking and reduce your appetite.
How to Celebrate National Walking Day
Naturally, one of the best ways to celebrate National Walking Day this year is to go for a walk. Call a friend or meet a family member for a nature stroll. If you’re trying to incorporate more walking into your schedule, here are some tips.
Join a Walking Club
There are walking groups throughout the United States for different areas. You can join a club or even start one yourself. A great place to start is Meetup. You can find walking groups and meet local people interested in walking from Los Angeles to Nashville. You can also search America’s Walking Club for events near you and walking clubs throughout the nation.
Make Small Changes to Increase Physical Activity
Try to make small changes to your day that increase your steps, like:
- Park your car farther away from your destination.
- Walk after a meal.
- Take the stairs.
- Get off the bus a stop early.
Track Your Steps
Track your steps with a phone or smartwatch, and make it a point to reach your daily goals. Tracking your steps is a good way to hold yourself accountable and provide a reminder to move more throughout the day.
How AI Fitness Technology Will Take Your Health to The Next Level
By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
Healthy Lifestyle: Celebrate Health, and Start Walking Today
It’s easy to brush off walking as a form of exercise. But a brisk walk can build stamina, improve heart health, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. This National Walking Day, celebrate your health, take a walk, and enjoy the benefits.
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