Posted on 03/05/2015 at 12:00 AM by Jon Hardersen, PA-C
Walking is rarely thought of as a key component when starting an exercise program. At Iowa Weight Loss Specialists, walking is a crucial part of the program offering many advantages over other forms of exercise. The health benefits of adhering to a walking routine can be found in nearly every system of the body.
Before diving into the many health benefits of exercise, it’s important to point out that nearly everyone can do it. Low impact activity such as walking is not considered physically demanding. Because no gym memberships are required or special equipment needed, it is the least expensive form of exercise.
There are not many forms of activity where conversations can be had and relationships can be built. We always encourage walking with another individual but it’s not a requirement. Utilizing the buddy system offers accountability, entertainment and possibly competition.
It is important to point out that walking still requires energy and your body will burn calories even at low intensities. The amount of calories burned per mile while walking is found by multiplying your body weight (in pounds) X 0.5. For example, a 200 pound individual will burn approximately 100 calories per mile walked. This is how walking or any form of physical activity can aid in weight loss.
Beyond weight loss, many physical and mental health improvements have been proven with merely walking. Such improvements are seen in balance, bone strength, blood pressure, diabetes, back pain, arthritis, cholesterol levels, sleep quality and overall energy levels during the day.
Mental health benefits are seen with walking as well such as improvements in depression and anxiety. The ability to concentrate can improve along with memory.
The health benefits of walking for exercise go way beyond the scope of this article. Now that you’re convinced of the importance, get moving! There really is no excuse for inactivity. The best way to gain these benefits is to walk regularly, outdoors, and with a partner.
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