Hey, welcome back to our amazing enterprise, Your Healthy Life, and today we shall be looking at how walking can ameliorate your healthy life. When you trek or move orderly such that your legs visit the ground each at a turn and both never off the ground at once, you are practicing what we call walking.
Now the question of the day is ‘have you ever walked?’ I know you think this sounds stupid since everyone walkabout, here and there and even when they leave their cars to enter a shop or from their bedroom to the seating room, etc. But that isn’t what the question meant. Have you ever decided to take a 30-minute walk?? That also partially tries to explain the question, however, not completely. Have you ever decided to go for a 30-minute walk? knowing fully well the importance of this exercise to your health and not just because you can’t afford a taxi or your car lacks fuel? Those of us who walk and barely know some importance of this exercise in our health, how much time do we spend on strolling and what are some motivating or demotivating factors behind this time spent on walking? Moreover, do you have the slightest idea what footing does to your heart’s health? Beautiful ladies and gentlemen, I want to assure you that as you continue to spend your valuable time on this article, we are more than gladdened to expose to you most of the answers of these questions as well as answers to questions not asked or questions that may be bothering you about strolling. And remember it is one of the goals of this company to make you lead a healthier life.
My Personal Experience.
Growing like a little boy during my secondary school-days, I mostly trek to school. I often spend my fair on food and other stuffs and decide to go to school and back home on foot with other learners, a journey of about two miles. I was actually walking because I had spent my transport fair and what I realized was I never spent a night in the hospital during that period. Well, I never knew the importance of walking during those days. Secondly, I spent a year in the capital city of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, and I and a friend called Mr. Ben would always walkabout. We lived about 3 miles apart and we usually visited each other. Sadly, when he traveled to Africa, I inherited a sedentary life. I gained lots of weight may be due to no more intensive movement. This year, reallocating to another city where I go to work on foot, I realized a massive loss of weight after 4 months. Moreover, I had a very stressful experience from work a few weeks ago, and with some cash in my wallet, I chose to visit my bank on foot, a journey of about 10 km to and fro, while listening to my playlist. On reaching home, I found myself stress-free and was able to do more mental work compared to other days I rarely go for an intensive walk.
With all these happenings as far as walking is concerned, I decided to do more research and findings on footing and behold, this exercise has so many vital roles to play in our healthy lives.
Walking and your heart’s health.
Do you know that whenever you walk, especially long distances, your heart smiles at you? What do I mean? The main function of your heart is to pump blood to various parts of your body including the tissues and organs. It pumps oxygen-rich blood carrying nutrients to the muscles including itself since the heart is a muscle. When you walk, the rate at which your heart pumps this oxygenated blood increases. Consequently, it becomes stronger, more active and a more efficient pump. Studies reveal that about 31% of individuals who practice walking experience a reduction in cardiovascular risks, and that walking has saved over 32% of people from losing their lives. If you practice walking, the chances of you having a heart attack or stroke become minimal.
Body Mass Index (BMI), Heart’s health and Walking.
Dear wonderful people, permit me to talk about BMI. Your Body Mass Index brings about a measured value of your body fat or weight with respect to your height.
People with a BMI less than 18.5kg/m2 are said to be underweight. Normal or healthy individuals are said to have a BMI between 18.5kg/m2– 24.9kg/m2, while individuals with BMI between 25kg/m2– 30.0kg/m2 are considered overweight and folks above 30 are said to be obese.
Studies published in the European Heart Journal reveals that an increase in your BMI and fat mass will cause the opening (valve) that controls flow of blood from the heart to the aorta (largest blood vessel), to be narrower ( smaller ) and fail to open fully thereby leading to an improper flow of blood as well as inadequate transportation of oxygen. Moreover, fatty substances accumulating in the blood vessels or arteries supplying blood to the heart tend to destroy these blood vessels leaving the individual with a heart attack. If this damage occurs in the blood vessels transporting blood to the brain, stroke awaits this victim. Thus, the higher your Body Mass Index, the more susceptible you are to risks of heart attack, stroke, hypertension and even type 2 diabetes.
Walking and other physical activities tend to decrease your body weight as they burn down calories or body fats. A fall in your body weight leads to a decline in your BMI hence, lower risks of cardiovascular diseases. So if you truly want your heart to be in good terms with you, never joke with your walking and other physical activities.
Walking, belly fats and weight loss.
After going through some statistics laid down by the World Health Organization (WHO), it saddens me to tell you that this great organization records about two million deaths per year due to physical inactivity.
Like I earlier said in my personal experience, leading a sedentary lifestyle is a very positive way of becoming overweight or obese which may put your health in severe danger and if not properly checked, may arise more fatal cases like death.
Studies from many nutritional specialists affirm that walking makes many people lose weight. And that a 70kg person walking each day is likely to lose about 46g of weight (mass) after every two weeks. Spending 50 minutes to 1hour every day on walking helps you burn close to 300 calories mainly from body fats. Thus, obese individuals wishing to lose a large amount of weight are advised to take their walking exercise with lots of intrinsic motivation and gumption. They should also worry more about the amount of distance covered as compared to the speed.
Scientifically, as you trek intensively, this activity stimulates the release of some substances called fat-burning hormones, some growth hormones, and epinephrine, and as footing continues abdominal fats are the first to be targeted.
Some ways you can go about walking in order to lose bodyweight include a brisk or fast walk, climbing short hills, altering your speed of walking as well as performing this exercise early in the morning especially before breakfast. These are all known to chop off lots of calories and fats found in your body, particularly in your belly.
Walking and high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is generally known as the pressure exerted by your blood on the walls of their blood vessels as these blood circulate. The American Heart Association guidelines define blood pressure being normal at less than or equal to 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and high blood pressure as 140/90 mm Hg. The front values (120 and 140) signifies your systolic pressure which is the pressure of your arteries as your heart undergoes its pumping action.
It has been confirmed from many studies that when you do regular exercises, your systolic blood pressure lowers from 4 to 9 mm Hg , which is good news for prehypertension and hypertension victims. Doing regular physical activities make your heart stronger and a more powerful heart pumps blood with relatively less effort. And if your heart spends less effort to pump, the force or pressure on your arteries (blood vessels that transport oxygen-rich blood) drops thus lowering your blood pressure.
Moreover, the American Heart Association and Canadian Hypertension education both recommended that “if you need to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, aim for 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity three to four times a day.” And fast (brisk) walking, being an aerobic exercise (cardio-exercise which is the pumping of oxygen-rich blood by the heart to transport oxygen to working muscles), has been given priority because of its greatest effect.
Walking and Cognitive development.
In simplest terms, cognitive development means how people think, explore and figure out things.
Doing running and walking are known to improve your thinking skills. Research conducted by Dr. Scott McGinnis at Harvard Medical School portrays that as you run or walk, your body tends to experience various changes like the production of some chemicals called growth factors that trigger the growth of new blood vessels in the brain. This improves the overall health of new brain cells hence improving your cognitive development. Moreover, his works showed that part of the brain that controls thinking and memory possesses has a larger volume in people who spend more time on exercises. This larger space leads to more storage of information in the brain and thus can be confirmed by taking reference to Albert Einstein ( one of the greatest scientists the world has ever reckoned) whose brain was analyzed to have 20% more space inside when compared to other humans. And this region, usually called the parietal lobe, is the area of the brain responsible for math skills and mental images.
In another point of view, more studies from Dr. McGinnis revealed that walking and other exercises elevate memory and thinking by improving mood and sleep as well as lowering stress and anxiety.
Making Walking a daily routine.
- Do your best to get rid of public transport when going home or to your workplace or better still, take the journey half-way on foot if it’s a long-distance.
- Avoid driving and rather walk to nearby shops, malls or casual visitations.
- Avoid lifts and attempt climbing stairs.
- Take a stroll sometimes at work usually after sitting for too long.
- If you feel bored, make a dog your companion for a walk or a buddy may help if you wish.
- Join a walking group or club.
- Take a walk with a loved one, friends or families.
- Avoid walking to the same place all the time, you may get bored.
Directives for walking.
Before undertaking intense walking activities, it is advisable to take the following into consideration:
- Select a good portable shoe with flexible soles and stiff heels that will not hurt your legs by causing them blisters.
- Be careful of the weather condition before undertaking any walking activity. This avoids you from being trapped by heavy rain or severe sunshine.
- The best clothing is also a call for concern. T-shirts and shorts are just OK for warm weather or during summer and pullovers or thick cloths are more comfortable during winter or cold periods.
- Those who prefer night walks should do so while facing oncoming cars or car headlamps. They should also have their torches with them for their own security.
- Making walking friends and walking groups is so beneficial as studies affirm that group walking brings lots of commitment and weight loss.
- Having a good mastery of your route is very important so that you do not lose any time during walking nor get lost in an unknown place.
- You may take along a playlist to distract you from the pains and difficulties during walking thus enabling you to spend more time while trekking.
We strongly believe, after reading this piece of information, walking shall be your daily routine and activity so as to improve your Health. Otherwise, then all our efforts went in vain. Moreover, we will be more than happy as you leave some comments below about your experience of walking and what you think ( your opinion ) about this article.