Benefits of walking
Many of us may ask why is walking important to me? Why should I go out and walk? One reason is that by walking to work or school you help to keep the environment around you clean. Of the pollution harming the air in the United States “80 percent of carbon monoxide” comes from the vehicles we constantly drive. Having fewer cars on the road would also reduce the amount of congestion on the roads and allow those people who do have to drive to work to get there in a timely matter. For most employers this would mean getting the most out of their employees, for others this means not having to spend an outrageous amount of money on gas traveling such small distances. Another reason to get out and walk is because it is good for your body. Participating in at least 30-minutes a day of some kind of physical activity has been proven to provide numerous health benefits (Why Walking is so Important). Walking also gives you a solid foundation of movements to help train your body for more strenuous activities, such as running, should you feel ready to take your work out to the next level (Allen).
If someone were to come up to you and asked you if you knew how to walk, you would find it a little strange? You might even think, well you just put one foot in front of the other while moving forward. While this is one way to explain walking, it doesn’t explain the good form needed to get the most out of your walk for fitness. Good form requires that an individual keep their head up, body relaxed but not so much that they are slumped over, and smooth even steps. Together these factors allow the person walking to achieve the most out of their walk (Walking, 2013). In addition to having good form, it is beneficial to own a decent pair of walking shoes. A good pair of shoes will fit to your feet, allowing you the maximum comfort for the shape and size of your foot. When you go to buy shoes, it is a good idea to have a store associate help you measure your foot to get an accurate measurement of your feet. This will help in the longer run to ensure that you are paired with shoes that are less likely to cause you injury from prolonged use. All together form and a good pair of shoes will ensure you reap the benefits of your walking routine (Walking Shoes, 2011).
Walking provides numerous benefits to individuals who choose to participate in this low impact form of exercise. It is a good way to sustain a healthy weight and if done for a prolonged period of time, walking can help trim down excess body fat (Walking, 2013). Walking also helps to keep certain illnesses at bay such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. With heart disease, walking helps to increase the amount of blood flowing thru the body, which helps keep fresh oxygenated blood pumped into the heart. The increase of blood flowing thru the heart also helps reduce the risk of a blood clot forming in the arteries that supply the heart with blood. High blood pressure, “the silent killer,” causes the heart to work harder to pump blood through your arteries. Daily walking can aid in keeping your heart from over working itself by getting more oxygen rich blood pumping through your arteries, helping them relax more which decreases the risk of high blood pressure (Boone, 2013). It is important that while walking is great exercise it should be done in moderation. Overtraining or over working your body will do you more harm than good and will decrease the number of benefits you see while performing your routine.
In a changing world technology is apart of our everyday lives. Apps are on our phones and help entertain us and provide us information. There are plenty of apps out for walking and exercise that allow an individual to track their miles, log their time, and figure out the calories they burned in that time period. Popular apps include, Nike, Map my Walk, and Endomondo, all available for free in the app store at Itunes. But researcher are not trying to reach the younger generations anymore, the focus has turned to older generations who may not be the most tech savvy individuals. Angela Herring (2013) wrote on a recent study that was conducted to help motivate older generations to get out and start walking. Researchers created an app that not only sounded like a real human but also had a “history” and could empathize with its user about exercise. Researchers studied a group at a California community center and came back with positive results showing that this human life app really helped to motivate and increase the activity in older generations. The study is currently in the works of be tested on a wider scale to reach a larger population (Herring, 2013).
There are many ways to get involved in walking. It is as simple as getting out and letting your feet just carry you, preferably in a loop so you arrive back at your starting location. If walking by yourself isn’t your style, there are walking groups/clubs that you can join or if there isn’t one that you can start. The American Heart Association has a link on their website for community members interested in starting walking clubs and it is completely free!
References[edit | edit source]
- Allen, J. (n.d.). Why Walking is Important for Exercise. Runner's World & Running Times. Running Shoes, Gear, Tips, Training, Reviews, News. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from http://www.runnersworld.com/the-starting-line/why-walking-important-exercise?page=single
- Boone, T. (2013, July 20). Discovery Health "Introduction to the Health Benefits of Walking". Discovery Health "Discovery Fit & Health". Retrieved September 14, 2013, from http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/exercise/benefits-of-walking.htm
- Herring, A. (2013, September 11). These apps were made for walking | news @ Northeastern. Northeastern University: a leader in global experiential learning in Boston, MA. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2013/09/timothy-bickmore-relational-agents/
- Walking shoes: Features and fit that keep you moving - MayoClinic.com. (2011, January 14). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ00885_D
- Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health - MayoClinic.com. (2013, April 13). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 13, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ01612
- Why Walking Is So Important. (n.d.). Health and Fitness - mens & womens health, fitness & lifestyle tips. Retrieved September 19, 2013, from http://www.health.simonegansmith.com/Walking_For_Fitness/Why-Walking-Is-So-Important.php