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Health 25 August 2018
By: Natasha Tanga

7 Ways Walking Can Benefit Your Health

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If you live in one of the metropolitan cities across Indonesia, traffic jams might be a common sight. It is often advised by city goverments to take public transport whenever possible, but one of the common obstacles people face is the lack off motivation to walk; whether it is triggered by the lack of infrastructure or hot weather in general. However, on this week's journal, we will be explaining a number of health benefits walking can actually give you. Read on!

1. Keeping a healthy heart

Weight gain, diabetes, and blood pressure that are primarily caused by sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, walking treats all these conditions and thus keeps your heart strong, healthy, and disease-free. Walking will increase your heart rate which is a good thing. Your heart is a very strong muscle and in order to keep our muscles strong, they need to be put to work. When you heart is pumping, it will pump blood and oxygen to be distributed all over the body. This result will help keep your heart strong and healthy. 

2. Regulates blood pressure

Regular exercise has been shown to result in a reduction in blood pressure for those who may be hypertensive. A regular walking routine lowers blood pressure and reduces the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, and is hence, very useful in treating hypertension. During exercise, your systolic blood pressure increases to improve blood flow, thus increasing available oxygen to the working muscles. Your blood vessels may also become more relaxed, or dilated, to allow for the increased blood flow.

3. Lose weight

If you're keen on shedding some pounds, it doesn’t necessarily mean having to do heavy exercises or spending much on gym membership. You can set aside some time in the early morning before work and walk briskly nonstop for at least 30 mins every day. The longer you walk with an increasing pace, the more calories you lose. Combine this with a healthy diet and you’ll soon find yourself not having to squeeze in those pants!

4. As a treatment for diabetes

Weight loss and diabetes go hand in hand as shedding weight off the scale reduces the risk of diabetes and increases the effectiveness of diabetes treatment. Walking also increases insulin sensitivity, especially in obese individuals with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. It impacts the glucose levels after meals in patients with type 1 diabetics and is also commonly used as a low-intensity workout plan to lower blood glucose in type 2 diabetes patients.

5. Preparing your physical fitness to do various exercises

If you're planning to begin a new exercise or gym routine, it will definitely drain your energy quickly if you don't do enough preparation with your body. Instead, try starting with a manageable brisk walk and then gradually increasing your pace. If you're normally living a sedentary life, walking might also take some time getting used to. You may feel more tired in the first week or two after you start walking frequently, but if you keep it up, you’ll probably yourself having more energy than when you were inactive.

6. Help speed up physical recovery

Walking is the cheapest, simplest and low-risk way to exercise when you’re recovering from joint issues, lower back pain, or any form of injury. Brisk walking is a moderate-intensity exercise that increases heart rate and stimulates blood circulation. Keep in mind that recovery walking is meant to be therapeutic and not cause further damage. Therefore, be mindful of your pace and your body’s pain points and speed yourself accordingly. Also, the longer you walk, the more you help increase your immunity and keep illnesses at bay.

7. Reduce stress

When you are under work-related stress or any other triggering factors, staying put indoors without any fresh air or have little things to think about can make you more tense. In such a situation, you could either choose to take a stroll and focus on the things around you or go for a brisk walk and concentrate on your body. Distracting yourself is the best way to clear your mind and steer yourself away from stressors. This can have a relaxing feel and in turn can de-stress your mind.

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