Walking is arguably the first exercise that humans have come across right from the dawn of humankind. Even as infants, walking is the first step we come across.
When you enter the gym, what's one exercise that's done the most? What's the one machine that everyone uses regularly? THE TREADMILL!
Even if a person isn't into exercising, walking is one form of cardio that we eventually give into. (Schoustra, S.E., Bataillon, T., Gifford, D.R. and Kassen, R., 2009)
The Science Behind Walking:
Professor O'Mara of experimental brain research at Trinity College in Dublin wrote a simple article explaining her thesis on why walking hasn't only been essential in the evolution of mankind but how it's vital for our health.
In his thesis, he has described how regular walking affects human navigation skills and how specific memories of our wandering can build the ability to map the surroundings we have experienced.
Studies have shown that regular walking can change the brain's structure in areas responsible for learning and memory. (Crust, L., Keegan, R., Piggott, D. and Swann, C., 2011)
Flow Of Long Walks:
Powerlifting, weight lifting, cross-fit, all these exercises can be pretty stressful, especially with most of us having a busy schedule.
Walking is the most accessible exercise which could give us similar benefits with minimal effort, following are its advantages:
How Long Should You Walk For?
Long Walking is considered a form of cardio. The name itself tells us that it's beneficial for the heart.
Cardio helps regulate the heart and boosts its efficiency. The average human should get at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week; hence walking for such a duration hits the sweet spot.
The amount of walking also could be subjective depending on your goal. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, it's recommended to walk and burn more calories than you are consuming.
If your goal is to keep yourself in the pink of health, 30-45 minutes should be more than enough.
Start slow and make your way to your goals.
Walking Dos And Dont's:
Walking sounds simple, but there's more to it. Injury is an obstacle everyone should prevent; there is no such exercise without any involvement of injuries.
- Wear comfortable clothes, shoes, and gear.
- Dress according to the weather.
- Choose a suitable route you're familiar with.
- The quality of your shoes should be good.
- Have a full-body warmup 10 minutes before starting your walk.
- Stay hydrated before, during, and after your walk.
- Avoid usage of caffeine or any other beverage drinks before walking; this could lead to dehydration.
- Don't walk on a full stomach.
- Avoid walking on an uneven surface.
- Don't look down all the time while walking, be aware of your surroundings.
- Don't go too slow.
- If you're new to it, start slow and avoid going extreme for the first time.
The Bottom Line:
Suppose you're having trouble maintaining a healthy lifestyle due to stress, work, plans, etc. Give walking a shot; the return on investment is pretty high for it being a minimal exercise that almost everyone can perform.