After the 2020 pandemic hit the world, people worldwide were locked up in their houses for months. This led to severe health crises like obesity and weight problems. But now, as the world is opening-up, citizens have started looking after their health.
The easiest way to keep their health in check is by walking. Firstly, it does not require any types of equipment. Secondly, you can do it at any time. Last but not least, it has manifold health benefits. So, if you are planning on being as fit as a fiddle, consider walking at least a mile regularly.
Health Benefits of Walking
Walking has been recommended by doctors for years. According to research, walking can reduce the risk of death by 20% (slow pace) and 24% (fast pace).
Coming to the health benefits of walking, it does more to your physical and mental health than you probably know. The following are some of its advantages:
If you are dealing with borderline obesity or just wish to lose some extra fat, you can take up walking regularly. As mentioned earlier, walking requires no material equipment but just bodily strength.
As per the American Council of Exercise, a person weighing 60 kgs on average can burn 7.6 calories per minute while walking.
This can vary on your speed, frequency, and your weight.
People suffering from underlying diseases like high blood pressure often take up walking as it improves blood circulation. Moreover, walking can significantly increase the contraction of muscles. Furthermore, it can lead to better blood flow circulation in stagnant areas of the body.
Walking requires lower body strength, thereby toning your leg muscles. If you are exerting yourself by using your arms, it can even improve and build arm muscles.
The muscle-building process can be enhanced and elevated by walking on a hill or a steep slope.
Recovery from Joint Pain
Doctors often recommend walking as an exercise to their patients suffering from joint pain. As walking results in a constant movement, it results in the strengthening of the muscles. People suffering from arthritis can benefit from walking daily as it helps in reducing the pain. Moreover, arthritis can be avoided by walking regularly.
People who regularly walk, even if it is a mile a day, have an extended lifetime. As walking is good for preventing or treating several cardiovascular diseases, it helps in dealing with severe health conditions. This can improve the quality of life along with extending it.
Besides physical health, walking is a go-to form of exercise for people looking to alleviate their stress levels.
Abundant researches and surveys have proved that walking helps with anxiety issues and depressions. To top it all, it also helps by boosting self-esteem and confidence.
An activity as simple as walking can broaden the horizons of creativity and push one to think beyond his/her capacity.
Writers and content creators prefer walking at least once a day to get a free flow of ideas. It helps them elaborate more on an idea. Some even achieve their source of inspiration while walking.
Tips to Walk a Mile Every Day
Even though walking is considered an “easy” exercise, it can strain the body if not done correctly. So, if you are planning on beginning your walking routine, adhere to the following tips:
Wear Proper Shoes
Even though this might sound materialistic, the right kind of shoes can make all the difference in walking. You cannot wear your casual flip-flops for walking a mile as you might not be able to reap its exclusive benefits.
The next time you go on a shopping spree for walking shoes, ensure that it offers proper protection and support to your ankles and heel. As walking can put an immense amount of pressure on your feet, ideal cushioning is a pre-requisite.
Likewise, the insoles and outsoles should be sturdy to sustain constant movements and possible wear and tear.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
You must, at all costs, avoid wearing anything tight or body-hugging while walking. Loose clothes are an ideal choice when it comes to walking. It can also reduce the possibility of skin irritation or rashes.
Ensure that the fabric is moisture-wicking as you might frequently sweat while walking. If the material is thick, it might be uncomfortable to walk in.
Maintain your Posture
The right posture is a must while walking.
Always keep your head held high while walking. The chin should be parallel to the ground. Avoid dropping your head towards the chest.
Your eyes should be forward and not towards the ground or your feet. Be aware of your surroundings while walking to avoid any unwanted repercussions.
Elongate your spine while walking to avoid accidental slouching or hunching.
Relax your shoulders, and do not hunch them forward. Move your shoulders in a shrug-like motion to avoid feeling any soreness in your arms.
You must engage your core muscles to enhance your walking experience. This can be done by pulling in your belly button towards your spine.
To activate the arm muscles, you must swing your arms gently while walking. Do not sway from your elbows but the shoulders.
Pre-Walk Warm-up Routine
It is essential to arm up before you kick-start your walking routine. By increasing the muscles’ temperature and increasing blood flow can make you more comfortable while walking.
You can try leg swings, arm circles, ankle circles, or hula hoop jumps to get your body heated up.
Wear a Pedometer
It is futile to go on a health journey without recording your progress. You can do it successfully with a pedometer as it accurately measures the number of steps taking in the given time frame.
With a recorded journal, you can motivate yourself in pushing your capacity.
How to Walk Regularly?
Walking every day can be tiring in the initial phases. Some people simply get bored by walking every day and leave out the habit. But proper health maintenance requires dedication and everyday practice. A proper walking regime can be maintained in the following manner:
Walking groups can be a great source of motivation and socializing. You can be a part of any walking groups based on your locality and walking goals. As walking in a group is considered more fun and energizing, it can push you to attain your fitness aims every day.
If you have a pet dog, you can fulfil your walking goals by taking them out for a walk every day. Dogs are great motivators and also fun to be with. Even a long stroll might not feel as exerting with them. This can quickly allow you to cover your desired distance without any physical or mental strain.
Buy a Treadmill
If you are working on a tight schedule or live in a secluded area where walking outdoors is not safe, you can buy the required equipment, i.e., a treadmill. It is easy to use and can be a useful addition to your home gym.
Safety Suggestions while Walking
Even though walking is not tricky, it can go wrong within a fraction of a second. You must adhere to the following safety precautions to achieve a healthy walking experience:
- DO NOT over-exert yourself. Work within your potential. Start with a slow 30-minute walk to understand your pace.
- Always warm-up before a walking session. Moreover, a cool-down session is a must post walking.
- Consider walking in a park or a garden to avoid any accidents. If not so, you must always walk on footpaths and not on the roads to prevent causing a stir for the vehicles.
- If you are walking with your dog, make sure they are leashed, especially if they haven’t been leashed-trained.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes and snug-fitted shoes for a relaxing experience.
- Carry an umbrella in case it starts raining. The same umbrella can be used to ward off any stray or aggressive dogs.
- Stay hydrated before, during, and after walking. Carry a bottle during your walks.
- Wear sunscreen to prevent any adverse effects on the skin.
- Check the forecast before you go out for a walk.
- Lastly, check-in with your medical professional to maintain your health records and status.
The bottom line
Walking a mile daily is not going to be harmful to your body. You can increase or decrease your distance as per your weight, age, and potential. But always remember to start slowly and gradually pick.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.