Like any other aerobic exercise, walking builds physical endurance caused by the increase of oxygen supply to the skin and muscles. Aerobic exercise may be a primary factor in the deterrence of heart and circulatory disease. Walking improves the cardio-respiratory system efficiency by stimulating the lungs and heart. It is probably the least strenuous and safest aerobic exercise and doesn’t require much but a pair of good walking shoes. Walking when done regularly can actually reduce tiredness and tension, promotes better health, a slimmer body and a longer life.
Walking promotes better circulation and respiration. It may actually lessen the chances of heart attack by opening up the narrowed areas in the coronary blood vessels as shown by some evidence in clinical studies. Walking may increase the elasticity of blood vessels decreasing the likelihood of stroke, which is sometimes caused by the rupture of blood vessels under pressure. Living a sedentary life, coupled with diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking, necessitates weight reduction especially for overweight and obese individuals.
Obesity is usually associated with premature death, disability and many other diseases notably hypertension, heart disease and respiratory disorders. For these reasons, exercise and good eating habits are important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
There is a wrong perception that exercise increases the appetite. On the contrary, there are studies that suggest that exercise decrease appetite by regulating the brain center that controls it. It redirects the blood flow away from the digestive tract; and stimulates the utilization of blood fats, instead of blood sugar, by the muscles. An estimated 120-150 calories are burned every hour by just strolling at 1 mph while 240-300 calories per hour are burned by walking at 3 mph. It takes 3,500 calories to be burned in order to lose one pound just by walking at a moderate pace. An hour a day walk can burn up to three pounds in one month.
Walking can actually flatten and make firm your abdomen and at the same time eliminate that doughy look in your thighs. A less active lifestyle, sometimes brought about by retirement hastens the aging process. Once the aging process accelerates then you become more and more vulnerable to physical and psychological problems. Retirement from work should not mean retirement from everything else, including exercise. You should always continue being active and physical even during your retirement years. Retirement should not mean endless hours in front of the television with a continuous supply of food. Rather you should try to continue an active lifestyle by incorporating exercise in your retirement routine.
Walking daily with your loved one or a friend will not only improve your physical health but will also create a stronger bond between the two of you. An effective walking routine consists of a 45-60 minutes walk at least three times a week. At the beginning, however, a six-week conditioning period is recommended, especially for older people or those unaccustomed to exercise. Start with a 15-minute walk every other day for two weeks then gradually increase it to 30 minutes the next two weeks, then working up to four 45-60 minute sessions a week. Comfort and time spend are the two primary concerns when walking. Be regular and consistent. Try to walk at least three times a week and no less than. A walking routine broken into several minutes a day is as effective as an hour of continuous walk. Although walking is the safest form of exercise, try to consult your doctor before starting your regimen. Avoid walking immediately after meals. If you become tired, stop and rest. Don’t push your body until you’re gasping for breath. Wear comfortable shoes and walk smoothly, putting energy into each step.