Getting fit doesn’t have to cost money. After all, people have been working out since the dawn of time, long before there were such things as gym memberships. And one of the simplest and best workouts you can do won’t cost you a penny…
That’s right: good old-fashioned walking.
Walking Can Reduce Body Fat
Being overweight can lead to all kinds of health problems, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. But, when combined with a nutritious diet, walking can reduce your body fat to keep you healthier.
According to a study published in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry in 2014, people who walked between 50 and 70 minutes three times per week, for 12 weeks in a row, reduced their body fat by an average of 1.5%. That works out at about 1.1 inches around the waist. Indeed, it has long been suggested that taking 10,000 steps per day is one of the best ways to stay fit, but even half that amount can make you fitter.
According to a recent Harvard study, between 4,400 steps and 7,500 steps is the goal older women should aim for in order to see a noticeable improvement in health and fitness.
Today, it’s easier than ever before to keep track of how many steps you take in a day. Simply check out the best pedometers available to select the right one for you.
Walking Leads to Stronger Bones and Muscles
Bones become weaker the older they get, but regular walking can help to strengthen them. As you take one step after another, stress is placed upon your bones. Cells called osteoblasts respond well to that stress and help to build bones’ robustness.
Even slow walking can prevent bone density loss, and you can build better bone mass by jogging, speed walking, or adding ankle weights. Furthermore, walking leads to increased muscle strength as it builds muscle mass and tones the muscle.
Walking Can Help Coordination and Balance
The older people get, the more their coordination and balance declines. But you can ensure you have excellent balance and coordination even into old age by walking regularly. That’s because the activity is the ideal way of building up lower body strength.
You could try what is known as “tightrope walking” to improve your coordination and balance even more. Don’t worry; you do not have to walk over an actual tightrope high from the ground. It simply means doing workouts where you walk by slowly putting one foot directly in front of the other, and keeping your head straight at the same time.
Walking Can Improve Heart Health
Walking can help to improve your heart health, and there are plenty of studies to support it. For instance, according to research published in Current Opinions in Cardiology, walking can help to prevent cardiovascular diseases in both men and women of all ages. And according to a research study published by the American College of Cardiology, postmenopausal women who walk at least 40 minutes several times a week experience almost a 25% drop in the risk of heart failure.
Furthermore, walking can improve your HDL cholesterol levels and lower your non-HDL cholesterol levels. HDL is considered to be good cholesterol, and it is associated with good heart health, while non-HDL can cause a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
Do you enjoy walking as a workout? Let us know in the comments below!