Benefits of Walking for the Mind and Body
Do you know any exercise easier to perform than walking? It requires no skill, it is inexpensive, and can be done virtually any time of day, has no age restriction and can even be done indoors if the person has a treadmill. For someone who does not practice any kind of sport, walking 10 minutes a day is enough to cause noticeable effects on the body, within just one week. Besides the improvement in physical fitness, the benefits of walking for health, body and mind are many and proven by science. Here are 11 benefits that this habit will result in for you. Have a look at the benefits here and make a move to improve your health:
Improves the Circulation
According to studies, walking for about 40 minutes can reduce blood pressure during the 24 hour period after the exercise. This is because during the exercise period, blood flow increases, causing blood vessels to expand, and reducing your blood pressure.
Moreover, hiking makes the valves of the heart work harder, improving circulation to the lungs and body, and improving the process of hemoglobin oxygenation. With the increased flow of blood to the lungs, blood becomes more rich in oxygen. In addition, walking also forces the arteries, veins and capillaries to dilate, making the flow of oxygen more efficient to the peripheral parts of the body, such as arms and legs.
Increases the Lung Capacity
The lungs are also given exercise when we walk. Gas exchanges that occur in the body become more powerful when we walk briskly, thereby causing a greater cleansing effect and forcing impurities and toxins to exit the lungs, leaving them more clear of viruses and dust.
According to experts, the practice of walking, if advised by a physician, can also help dilate the lungs and prevent some inflammation in the airways such as bronchitis. In some sample cases, it had the same effect as a syrup bronchial dilator.
Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
The impact of the feet with the ground has a beneficial effect on bone. The compression of the leg bones, and the movement of the entire skeleton through the act of walking results in an increase in electrical stimuli in our bones, called piezoelectric. The electrical stimulation facilitates calcium absorption, leaving the bones stronger and less likely to suffer from the ravages of osteoporosis. In the initial phase of osteoporosis, walking provides a method to strengthen bones. Furthermore, when osteoporosis is present, walking can oftentimes slow the progression of the disease, experts say.
During the process of walking, our body releases more endorphins, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, responsible for feelings of joy and relaxation. When a person begins an exercise program, it automatically produces endorphins.
After a while, you need more intense exercises to feel the beneficial effect of the hormone. Start walking, it is the beginning of a beneficial cycle. The more you walk, the greater the production of endorphins, which contributes to your motivation to continue exercising. This relaxing effect also incents you to spend more time walking.
Increased Sense of Well-being
A short walk on green areas like parks and gardens, can significantly improve mental health, increasing your sense of humor and creating a higher self-esteem, according to a study by University of Essex, UK.
Comparing data from 1200 people of different ages, gender and mental health status, researchers found that those who engaged in walking outdoors, as well as cycling, gardening, fishing, canoeing, horse back riding and agrarian exertion, experienced positive effects in relation to mood and self-esteem, even if such activities were practiced for only a few minutes daily.
Walking daily is a great exercise to improve your physical condition, improve health and retard aging.
Helps make the Brain Healthier
Walking daily is a great exercise to get the body in shape, improve health and retard aging. However, a new study from the University of Illinois, shows that the anti-aging effect of exercise may also be measurable in the brain, increasing stimulation to its circuits while reducing the risk of memory problems and increasing the attention span. The benefits we receive when we walk include improving our coordination and causing the brain’s ability to respond to increased stimuli, whether visual, tactile, auditory or olfactory.
Another study by the University of Pittsburgh, found that people who walk on average 10 miles a week had only half the risk of having a decrease in brain volume. As a result walking can be a decisive factor in preventing several types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, which slowly kills the brain cells.
Walking during the day increases the body’s production of stimulants such as adrenaline. This substance leaves the body more willingly during the hours following the exercise. Added to this, walking improves the quality of sleep for most people..
As the entire body is burning energy while walking, our body falls asleep quickly at the end of the day. So few people who walk have insomnia, and therefore do not experience drowsiness the next day.
Keeps Your Weight in Control
This is perhaps the most important of the benefits of walking. Of course, walking will aid you in the process of losing weight. If you’re used to spending a certain amount of energy and start walking, your body will experience a higher caloric demand that results in localized fat-burning, experts say.
And the role of walking in losing weight does not end there. Researchers at Yale University, showed that even hours after exercise, the subject continues to lose weight due to the acceleration of their metabolism, caused by increased circulation, respiration and muscle activity.
The conclusion is that the muscles of athletes consistently convert more energy to heat than those of sedentary individuals. The result is due to the fact that those who initiate an intensive training program of resistance, including brisk walking, have as a result a higher rate of metabolism.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Exeter (UK), suggests that walking may overcome the addiction to chocolate and other forms of processed sugar. During the study, 25 people were evaluated, who had been consuming a quantity of at least 100 grams per day of chocolate. The chocolate lovers had to give up consumption of candy and were divided into two groups, one of which would make a daily walk, while the other remained sedentary.
The researchers found that not eating chocolate, combined with the stress caused by everyday life, resulted in a greater desire to consume the candy. However a brisk 15 minute walk on a treadmill provided a measurable reduction in the desire for candy.
In addition to occupying my time with anything other than food, hiking releases hormones such as endorphins, which relaxes you and helps to battle stress, an effect that negated the desire in many people to consume food compulsively.
Protects against Strokes and Heart Disease
Walking will reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. By helping control blood pressure, walking is a preventative factor with respect to stroke and heart disease. The blood vessels become more elastic and more able to dilate when confronting an obstruction. This prevents the arteries and veins which carry blood from clogging.
Walking also regulates cholesterol levels in the body. It acts both to help decrease the production of bad fats (LDL) in the body, which are more likely to accumulate in blood vessel walls and thus cause strokes and heart attacks, and aids in the increased production of HDL, known as good cholesterol.
Decrease likelihood or effect of Diabetes
Insulin, a substance that is responsible for the absorption of glucose by body cells, is produced in greater quantities during the practice of walking, since the activity of the pancreas and liver are stimulated during walking as a result of increased blood circulation in all organs.
Another important point is that the improved organ function resulting from intense aerobic walking is capable of reversing insulin resistance, an important factor for developing diabetes. Thus it is proven that the exercise is even more beneficial against the disease than previously thought.
The greater the amount of insulin in the blood, the greater the ability of cells to absorb glucose. When this sugar is circulating freely in the blood it can increase the incidence of diabetes.