Perhaps you’ve made a new years resolution and you are going strong with it, or maybe you broke it two days in. Perhaps you decided not to make any resolutions this year and sit by smugly watching everyone else suffer!
Whatever your choice as the clock struck midnight and we waved farewell to 2018 and said a big hello to 2019, there are certain things that won’t change, and that includes the fact that exercise is ALWAYS going to be your friend. It is of course great for our bodies inside and out and it is also great for our mental well-being.
You don’t need to go all out and run a marathon or spend a load of money taking up a new sport because one of the most basic and easy forms of exercise is actually incredibly good for you, and that is walking.
Just half an hour of walking a day can hugely benefit your health and that’s why we are here to tell you the 5 reasons that you should take up walking in 2019.
Helps maintain a healthy weight
Most of us would like to shed a few pounds, especially after christmas, but what we often don’t realise is that walking is a great way to do this.
On average 100 calories per mile are burned by a 180 pound person and 65 calories per mile are burned by a 120 pound person. Bearing in mind that we walk on average between three and four miles in an hour, those calories being burned can soon add up. Even if you can only commit to walking for half an hour a day you will start to see the difference.
Daily walking also increases your metabolism whilst burning these extra calories by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older.
Regular walking can also help to improve your body's response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat.
2.Helps prevent or manage various conditions
Not only will walking help you to manage your weight it also has a large number of health benefits.
Research has shown that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines (30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week) had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared with those who did not walk regularly.
In time walking lowers your blood sugar levels and so your overall risk for diabetes, particularly type 2 and has been shown to reduce risks of heart disease.
Those who walk on a regular basis can enjoy dramatically lowered blood pressure which may reduce the risk of having a stroke by 20% to 40%
3.Strengthens your bones and muscles
Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that uses your body weight as its resistance and helps to strengthen your bones and muscles.
Throughout life and in later life especially it is important to exercise to improve muscle strength and balance which will give you improved strength and balance and reduce the risk of falls, a common cause of fractures.
Walking has been found to slow down age-related decline in bone density and may influence factors that preserve bone strength too.
4.Improves your mood
We often think of exercise as being all about our bodies, but being active has a whole range of benefits when it comes to mental well being.
Walking is a great low-impact exercise that comes quite naturally to us humans, meaning we don’t need to put our minds into the exercise too much, freeing up our minds to wander as we walk.
Walking can improve self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.
Studies have shown that physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed, and staying active helps those who are depressed recover, great huh?
In older people, staying active can improve cognitive function, memory, attention and processing speed, and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
The physical benefits that you gain by walking can also help to improve your mental health since when you feel fitter and more in control of your weight, your body image and confidence can increase.
5.Helps With Digestion
Studies have shown that a post-meal walk can aid in digestion. Walking helps to speed the rate at which food moves through the stomach and also decreases blood sugar after meals by clearing glucose from the bloodstream.
After a brisk walk you may find that you need to go to the toilet because your walk has really gotten things moving, so take a good book!