Even if you take short walks, the physical benefits of exercise will boost your emotional well-being. In addition, regular walking can help ease symptoms related to chronic mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Walking is free! You can walk anywhere without equipment or a gym membership, and the more you do it, the more positive effects you’ll experience.
Build lean Muscle
There are muscle-building benefits of walking.
People who ramble/hike/take serious walks, and run marathons, they have such lean and shapely legs. Do you want lean and shapely legs? When it comes to staying fit, yet, many people believe that walking will make your legs bigger. But unlike the general perception, larger legs are caused due to stored fat rather than muscle. The fact is that when legs lose fat, it’s about shedding weight – right?
Walking makes your leg muscles work, and they will grow a little. But that’s only temporarily because the muscles swell to take in nutrients and remove the waste. The swelling vanishes within 30 minutes to an hour. Therefore, to build muscle mass or tone muscles in your legs, you must participate in consistent strength training. Weight-training exercises, such as squats, lunges, step-ups, deadlifts and calf raise, target the muscles in your lower body.
Incorporating steps or hills into your walking routine may provide ( depending on the person) a temporary minor muscle development. A good way to do this is with an inclined treadmill. But the muscle size increases are likely to plateau rather quickly, because your muscles will adapt to stress after a short time, and thus the walks will no longer provide enough of an overload. So, why should you incorporate walking in your workout regime?
The Benefits of Walking
There are numerous benefits of walking, and some of them are…
- Improved sleep
- better breathing
- Better endurance
- Stress relief
- Improvement in mood
- Increased energy and stamina
- Reduced tiredness can increase mental alertness
- Weight loss
- Reduced cholesterol and improved cardiovascular (heart) health.
Walking helps boost your mood by increasing blood flow and blood circulation to the brain and body. It positively influences your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is your central nervous response system. The HPA axis is responsible for your stress response. When you exercise by walking, you calm your nerves, making you feel less stressed.
You can invite friends to join you or take your dogs for a walk. Walking with others as little as one or two days per week can have enormous benefits. Research has shown that physical exercise combined with positive social interactions can improve negative moods, ward off depression, improve self-esteem, and thus energize your physical body. Start by walking three days a week for 10-30 minutes.
How to Create a Walking Routine
One of the best ways to begin a new walking routine is to start small and take it easy on yourself as you gradually build up endurance.
To ensure the best injury-free experience, choose stable walking shoes and before you leave home, stretch your legs, ankles, and feet to warm up. If you have one, take your mobile phone in case of energy. If it’s a little warm out and your walking some distance, take a water bottle to avoid dehydration.
Start at a relaxed pace, then build up to a brisk walk. Toward the end of your walk, give yourself time to slow down again, bringing your heart rate down.
Each time you go out, carve out a comfortable walking route, then extend your distance over the next few days or weeks.
Give yourself goals to reach and celebrate your wins. Remember, it’s not always about the length of your route. It’s also about the quality of the walk and the benefits you get from doing it consistently.