Walking Your Way to Weight Loss, Part 1
Walking is one of the best exercises for people who cannot engage in high impact workouts due to physical limitations and current health conditions (e.g. rheumatism).
Walking is also ideal for beginners who wish to improve their base fitness level through a manageable and fun exercise that the whole family can enjoy.
Regular walking offers these excellent health benefits:
1. Improves Heart Health – Walking helps burns calories and stored fat while reducing your LDL or “bad cholesterol” level. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) are associated with a higher risk for coronary heart disease, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and hypertension.
Walking, like other forms of exercise, has been shown to be effective in lowering high blood pressure as well.
Hypertensive individuals often experience this wonderful effect immediately after a workout. If you are already medicating for hypertension and are free to engage in low-impact exercises, try walking and see if it suits your taste.
2. Weight Loss Partner – Regular walking directly improves your chances of losing excess pounds in a year, provided that you combine your walking with caloric reduction and other low-impact exercises.
Walking is a recommended activity for children as it helps in lowering the risk of childhood obesity. Childhood obesity can easily continue to adulthood so it is a wise decision to start early.
3. Bone Health – Regular exercise in general improves bone density and strength. Chronic bone conditions such as osteoporosis can be improved or prevented through walking.
Women in their 40s are in a prime position to begin protecting their bones from osteoporosis later in life.
Medical studies show that exercises like walking can still improve the bone profile of women who have already been diagnosed with this condition, provided that exercise is boosted by proper supplementation and a balanced diet.
4. Better Mind & Memory – Very recent medical research has shown that exercise improves not only the cardiorespiratory system but also the nervous system, including your brain.
How does exercise benefit the brain?
Walking gives you access to a host of brain health benefits, including:
i. Improved cognitive function
ii. Improved short term and long term memory
iii. Improved creative thinking
iv. Faster recovery from mental fatigue
v. Better mood regulation and decrease in chemical secretions that contribute to anxiety and depression
Exercise is your real “Happiness Pill” that costs nothing to enjoy!
5. Cancer Prevention – Physical activities like walking, as long as they are done regularly, have the ability to ward off various types of deadly cancers including breast cancer and prostate cancer.
How can walking help prevent cancer?
There are many modern theories that explain why exercise prevents the growth of cancer cells in the body:
i. Lower Insulin Levels - Exercise reduces the active secretion of insulin in the body. It is currently believed that insulin transmits chemical signals that direct cells in the body to multiply. Cancer cells are normal cells that have become rogue. They multiply uncontrollably, which causes cancer in different organs.
ii. Lower Estrogen Levels – High estrogen levels in women has been associated with the accelerated growth of cancers like breast cancer, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer. Exercise lowers the secretion of free estrogen in the bloodstream, which actively combats the growth of cancer cells.
iii. Better Bowel Health – Exercise has a positive impact on our bowel movement. It helps move waste more quickly through the colon. Experts believe that a more efficient digestive system also means that the body’s length of exposure to carcinogens is dramatically reduced, which then reduces our risk of developing cancer from food-borne toxins.
iv. Less Inflammation – Walking can help reduce overall tissue inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a natural response of the body to infection and injury. Inflammation increases the temperature of a certain part of the body, which is thought to reduce the growth of pathogens.
However, if inflammation takes place repeatedly in a single area of the body, normal cells are influenced to multiply above the normal rate. When this happens, mistakes in the genetic code of normal cells can occur. These genetic errors can then lead to cancer.
6. Stress Relief – Stress doesn’t just demotivate you from losing weight – it affects every part of your body, including your heart and liver.
Walking can help reduce stress levels by enhancing the body’s natural production of endorphins, our natural painkillers. Exercise in general is recommended as a safe and natural way of coping with high levels of stress in both men and women.