The Health Benefits of Walking

When I first started losing weight when I tipped the scales at 300 lbs, the first thing I did was the only the thing I thought I could do: walk.

The easiest thing that I could think to do at the time to start my weight loss journey was walking. It’s low stress, I knew I could do it, and the only thing it required was my time.

If you’re very overweight and have little fitness experience, it’s a great place to start. For me, I just put on a podcast and began walking around the block, and slowly made my journeys bigger and longer.

Why You Should Walk More:

Other than just saying ‘general health’ there are a lot of specific ways increasing your overall walking time throughout the day is good for your health.

Here’s some reasons why you should walk more:

Improves Your Heart and Lung Fitness

By walking, you’re exercising. In doing so, your heart has to pump blood faster around your body than it usually does. The result of this is that you strengthen the muscles in your heart.

This can help improve the blood flow to your heart and lungs which can make them both work more effectively. With improved heart and lung health you can enjoy a higher level of fitness.

Less Chance of Strokes and Heart Disease

With a better heart, you have a better blood flow. A better blood flow and generally healthier heart can help fight off heart disease, and also help fight against other blood flow related problems like strokes.

Better Bone Health & Endurance

Walking more puts more pressure on your joints – but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re indulging in gentle walking sessions, your body will notice and adjust accordingly.

The increased pressure on your knees and hips makes your body increase the bone and mineral density in those areas. This gives you healthier bones and allows you to walk for longer periods of time.

The same goes for your muscles, they’ll adapt to the work load and help improve your overall muscle strength and endurance.

You Lose Weight

Although it’s not a “hardcore” exercise, walking still burns calories. If you’re burning calories you’re going in the right direction. For example, a 205-pound person burns 279 calories when walking for an hour at 2.5 mph and 354 calories at 3.5 mph (source).

Your main goal is to burn more calories throughout the day than what you’re taking in. Adding an hour of walking onto your daily activities can help you tip the balance towards weight loss.

How to get more walking into your day:

Walking sounds like an easy task, and it is – but getting the motivation to do it can be hard. It’s easy to underestimate and think it’s not worth the trouble. However, if you want to lose weight, it definitely is.

For me personally, I used podcasts. I love podcasts, things like the Joe Rogan podcast and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History are fascinating to me. To make sure I went for a walk, I told myself the only time I could listen to podcasts was when on a walk.

There are other methods too, but it depends on your circumstances. If you take the public transport it may be wise to get off a stop early and walk home from there.

If you have a dog in your home, you could ensure that you’re the only person who will walk it. Don’t have a dog? Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog. You’d be doing them a favor, and yourself.

Summary

Walking is easy, healthy and fun depending on how you organize it. With walking I took my first steps (ha ha!) to losing the main bulk of my weight. This opened up more intensive exercise, and eventually led me to joining a gym.

If you’re overweight and think it’s best you take baby steps when it comes to losing it, I highly recommend incorporating a daily walk into your routine.