Is walking the most underrated form of exercise?
Health and fitness professionals often recommend walking as it helps to improve levels of physical fitness, mental health and wellbeing.
Walking is a simple low impact exercise that can be easily fitted into your daily routine. Everyone can benefit from walking, regardless of their age, any level of fitness, if they are overweight, or if they suffer from a health related issue. Roughly 20-25 minutes of walking a day, meets the daily recommendations for exercise set by the World Health Organisation.
Walking, alongside core strength, will help your balance, stability and posture. The combination of walking and core strength will enable your spine to perform at it’s best, making your every day activities easier. As well as helping you lose weight, improving your level of fitness and stamina, walking also has many other benefits to your physical health.
Walking improves your cardiac health and circulation, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and strengthens not only your legs and abdominal muscles but also your arms.
When walking, your breath rate increases causing oxygen to travel faster through your bloodstream increasing your energy levels and the ability to fight of illness and help heal your body. Walking outside will increase your exposure to vitamin D, known as the wonder drug. It has the ability to cut down your chance of bone fractures, certain cancers, depression, obesity and autoimmune diseases. A recent report has stated that something as simple as walking can counter the degenerative effects of ageing on your brain, meaning that you retain your memories for longer and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.
Although it may take a couple of weeks to feel the benefits to your physical health, you will start to feel your mental health improving almost immediately when walking. Research has shown that regular walkers report feeling more positive and creative, less stressed and happier. They feel they are more productive during the day, with better concentration and improved mood. They enjoy a longer life with fewer illnesses, better mobility and they report better sleep patterns.
Perhaps the best thing about walking is that it is fun. It’s lovely to walk on the beach or in the country but it’s also enjoyable to be able to just open your front door and start walking.
Many of the benefits of walking can be enhanced with practicing Pilates. Pilates focuses on building core strength, creating good habits within your body to rectify alignment and imbalance issues. Pilates and walking combined can let to a real positive change within your body and mind. Pilates Scotland has been running a ‘February Step Challenge’ where members of our community have been encouraged to set a daily step goal and many have reported great results including positive changes in their mood and body. If you would like to to experience the benefits of combining walking with Pilates for yourself, start your 14 day free trial with us now by clicking here.