With Christmas now behind us, aspiring dieters across the country will be looking forward to a January spent living thriftily – and a commitment, however short-lived, to getting into shape.Exercise forms a vital component of any healthy lifestyle, and there are few forms of exercise more widespread than simply walking from place to place.But why exactly should we prefer walking to any of the other available forms of exercise?Let’s consider a few potential reasons.
Walking burns calories
In order to lose body fat, you’ll need to expend more energy than you’re taking on board through the food and drink you consume.Since walking requires energy, it will help to drive you into a caloric deficit – which is essential if you’ve looking to shed that extra weight.
Walking builds muscle
One overlooked function of exercise, particularly among those looking to trim down, is that it helps to promote muscle growth – and in doing so helps to contribute to the caloric deficit we’ve mentioned.Muscle requires energy to sustain itself, and it will draw that energy from your body fat where there’s none available in the bloodstream.
Walking improves posture
We should also consider where this extra muscle mass will be built; the complex group of muscles in the abdomen and lower back have adapted with walking in mind – and thus a long walk is the best way to develop then.If you’re suffering from lower back pain after hours spend slouched in front of a computer screen, you might find that a long walk is just the thing to alleviate that pain.
Walking gives you purpose
If you’re looking to build your fitness over a long period of time, then it can be extremely helpful to have a long-term goal in mind.Perhaps you might want to one day reach a certain weight, or be able to conquer a certain route.By planning your final goal, and plotting a series of short-term checkpoints along the way, you’ll be able to break the task down, and thereby conquer it!
Walking reduces stress
Walking isn’t just good for your physical health – it’s good for your mental health, too.Like any other form of exercise, walking will cause your body to release endorphins (the famous ‘feel-good’ hormones that make like much more pleasant.)If you’re suffering from depression – or even if you’re just feeling a little stressed, walking is a form of exercise that’ll help to clear your mind.What’s more, the feeling of meeting goals along the way to your long-term fitness objective is extremely gratifying.
Walking is fun
Not only will walking improve your mental function at the chemical level – but it’ll provide you with new and interesting sensations, sights, smells and sounds.Go for a long walk in the country and you’ll experience fresh air in your lungs, the scent of pine in your nostrils, the sound of wind rustling through the trees, and any number of other exhilarating sensations.Walking therefore offers a level of experience that can’t yet be matched by any Xbox or Playstation!
Walking is easy
So far we’ve mostly discussed advantages that are common to all forms of exercise.But what makes walking any better than, say, cycling or gymnastics?The chief virtue of a walk is that it’s accessible – virtually anyone can do it without needing to invest time planning the activity.Whether you’re eight years old, eighty years old – or even older – you’ll be able to get some benefit from modest exercise.Even a short trip around the block will provide your body with a real, tangible benefit.
Walking is cheap
Just as you don’t need to invest time in planning or training to get results from walking, there’s also limited cause to spend vast amounts of money on expensive equipment.You don’t even need any expert instruction to get started.If you’re thinking of getting started with walking, then a few sessions with minimal gear will certainly be manageable (though a suitable pair of walking boots will almost certainly make life easier).
Walking allows you to raise money
If you’re looking to raise money for a worthy cause, then a charity challenge can offer a great means of doing so; and walking challenges are among the most popular.Once you’ve built up enough endurance, you’ll be able to travel across some of the most challenging terrain the world has to offer – and in the process contribute to something really worthwhile.Charity walks are constantly being organised – so sign up for one today.You’ll give yourself the incentive you need to build toward the occasion!