Walking is one of the simplest, yet the most effective form of cardio exercise. Regular brisk walking for over 30 minutes post warming up speeds up your metabolism and helps you in shedding those extra layers of fat. Good metabolism is vital to keep your body functions running smoothly, gives you tons of energy throughout the day, and keeps fat at bay.
How Much Should You Walk?
The American Cancer Society recommends you walk around 3-5 times longer than more physical activity. To achieve this, you could choose to walk for 7 hours a week, or you can choose to run at a speed of 10 minutes/mile for around 2 hours a week. For a brisk walk, you should be walking at a pace fast enough to get you breathing heavily.
Benefits of Walking an Hour Per Day
1. You get in shape
A regular brisk walk will shed the extra pounds of fat on your body over a period of time. It will ultimately get you in shape, making you look slim and youthful. No expensive gym memberships, no heavy lifting weights, and no draining your energy on complicated gym equipment. All you have to do is walk, and you will soon observe your body getting not only healthier but also stronger over time.
2. Your heart becomes stronger and healthier
Brisk walking raises your heart rate by 60-70% because, while walking, the muscles of your body need more oxygen and blood supply. If you make it a habit of walking for 1 hour daily, the strength of your heart and its efficiency in pumping blood will increase over time. Consequently, the risk for cardiovascular diseases like angina, heart attack, stroke, etc. in the future reduces significantly.
3. It is one of the most efficient stress busters
We are all exposed to tremendous amounts of stress on a daily basis. Exercise, especially brisk walking, is one of the most effective ways to reduce your stress levels by releasing endorphins in the brain. These chemicals boost your mood and make you feel good. Exercise also counteracts the ill effects and the damage caused by stress hormones in the body.
4. The immune system is in for a treat
There is no doubt that regular exercise increases the vitality of all the systems of our body, including the immune system. One-hour walking per day at a brisk pace increases the number of lymphocytes in the blood. These cells are responsible for catching and killing the germs that enter into the bloodstream. The first contact of microorganisms with the body is the skin and the mucosal surfaces, like the lining of the gut, mouth etc. As we get regular in our walking schedules, the first line defence located at the skin and mucosal surfaces gets stronger, becoming much more efficient in protecting us from multiple, life-threatening diseases.
5. No fear of lifestyle diseases
The biggest causative factor behind lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes is the decreased amount of physical activity. If you keep your body moving by walking daily, the risk of acquiring these lifestyle diseases falls tremendously.
The Best Ways to Make Your Walking Fun
Walking 4 km a day to lose weight at the same pace on a straight path can become very boring. Exercise should always be fun and get you excited about it. So here are a few ways you can squeeze in some fun during your brisk walking sessions while you lose weight.
- Blast some tunes
The best way to make walking fun is playing music. Many people have their preferences when it comes to music. However, to get yourself in the mood to get going, listen to songs which pump your adrenaline and give you energy and motivation. Put on your headphones and head out the door to enjoy a refreshing and energizing walk.
- Get a company
If you feel you will benefit from a company while walking, go ahead and do it. Try walking in small groups of 3 to 4 people or just with your partner, whichever way you get the best results. You can motivate each other and help others in sticking to the schedule.
- Try a new path or place every day
Change your route, and take a different path every day. This will not only help in making the exercise exciting but will also help you in exploring many new places in your area.
- Track your progress
For this, you can get a fitness tracker or simply use your phone. Count the number of steps you take every day, the number of miles you walk per session, your heart rate, etc. Once you see all these parameters improving over time, you will be motivated to push yourself harder every single time.
- Jog in between
Talking about pushing yourself harder, try to include jogging in between your walks. Begin with half a minute of jogging. Slowly increase the time and see how far you can get with it.
What Did We Learn?
One-hour walking per day helps to speed up your metabolism, sheds the pent-up fat in your body, and reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases. You can make this simple exercise enjoyable by playing music and getting a friend to accompany you. Track your progress daily to see how far you have come and how your body's stamina and strength have grown over time.