Walking for Weight Loss and Hitting Your Fitness Goals
When it comes to health goals, getting more exercise is up there with eating healthily. But, if the idea of sweating it out in a gym doesn't inspire you to get your heart pumping, it doesn't end there. Although many of us associate exercise with slogging it out on the cross trainer, what we often overlook is the oldest form of physical activity out there – walking.
Ok, it may not be in the Olympics but it's a great place to start when it comes to setting goals and getting fit. Here are five reasons why you should get stomping…
IT'S A STRESS-BUSTER
Tough day? It may be tempting to hit Netflix and indulge in a Game of Thrones marathon, but research has shown that a brisk walk is much more effective. Like any cardiovascular activity, the body throws out a batch of endorphins (the feel-good hormone) and soothing neurons in the brain which can improve your mood and boost self-esteem.
IT CAN HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER
If counting sheep isn't quite cutting it, try slipping on your trainers for a good night's slumber. Studies have shown that three hours exercise a week boosts the effect of natural sleep hormones such as melatonin. However, as ever, timing is everything – make sure you head out at least two hours before bedtime otherwise exercise can act as a stimulant.
IT LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
Running not your bag? Don't sweat it as scientists have found that thirty minutes of walking three times a week may be enough to help lower blood pressure in the same way that running does. During exercise, your systolic blood pressure increases to improve blood flow, which increases the amount of available oxygen to the working muscles.
IT CAN WHITTLE YOUR WAIST
It may not get as many column inches as HIIT for weightloss but walking can be an effective tool when it comes to your fitness goals. Depending on how much you walk and the intensity, you can lose at least a pound a week. It may not sound like much but on average, if you walk at a pace of four miles per hour (a common pace) you can burn roughly 400 calories per hour. Make sure you tackle those hills head on to add a toning element to your walk and add definition to your calves, quads and bum. Want to avoid common traps that will hinder your fat loss? Read our post here.
IT'S AN IMMUNE-BOOSTER
There's nothing like bundling up for a refreshing walk in the great outdoors. As the weather warms up, slipping on your trainers and pounding the pavement will expose you to vitamin D which can help strengthen your immune system and bone health.