The Amazing Benefits Of Walking To Your Health
We all know that exercise is great for our health, and that we need to include strength training, interval training and a bit of cardio to have a balanced program. But where many gym junkies go wrong is underestimating the power of walking to compliment their workouts.
The modern world of computers has made many things easier, unfortunately it has also made us extremely sedentary.
The human body is designed for constant daily movement, not just to keep a good waistline but as you will see it is essential for optimal physiological function–which contributes to health and well-being. We must understand that just working out 3-4 times per week and then spending most of your work time and home time sitting down is still very unhealthy and not likely to achieve your goals of ultimate health and fitness.
Sitting for too long apart from all the physical problems of creating tight hips, hamstrings, shoulders and developing neck and back pain sitting also plays havoc with your hormones and metabolism. Sitting for too long slows down the body’s metabolism and the way the enzyme lipoprotein lipase breaks down our fat reserves. And as metabolism goes down your blood glucose levels and blood pressure go up! Which is not good news for your health.
Small amounts of regular activity, even just standing and moving around, throughout the day is enough to bring the increased levels back down. And those small amounts of activity add up.
Scientists have suggested that 30 minutes of light activity in two or three-minute bursts could be just as effective as a half-hour block of exercise!
But without that activity, blood sugar levels and blood pressure keep creeping up, steadily damaging the inside of the arteries and raising the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
And what is the easiest form of activity you can do anywhere anytime? Walking!
Simply walking 30-60 minutes per day will do.
Walking requires the integrated use of our arms, legs and torso. Hundreds of calorie-burning muscles are utilized by walking. Walking briskly on a daily basis not only results in the burning of calories, it increases enzyme activity and other metabolic activity.
Increased metabolism doesn’t only mean using more calories, it means your body is more likely to draw in nutrients from your foods and supplements. This is because of the supportive effects walking has on your internal organs. It also means your desire to drink more water will increase, supporting all your bodily systems of detoxification and elimination, as well as improving digestion.
Circulation of Vital Fluids
Walking results in rhythmic contraction and relaxation of muscles as well as rhythmic pressure changes in your joints. This results in improved circulation of blood, lymph and even synovial fluid (the lubricating fluid made in joints). Because much of your immune system travels through your body via the blood and lymphatic fluids, improving your circulation through daily walking can improve immune function, as well as your metabolism and health in general.
Cerebral spinal fluid is the special fluid that bathes and nourishes your nervous system. Unlike blood, which is assisted in its movement through the body by the heart, cerebrospinal fluid movement is dependent upon a number of pressure-wave influences that range from expansion and contraction of cranial sutures and pressure on the brain tissue, first by systolic pressure and then by diastolic pressure. Another factor assisting the flow of this vital fluid is breathing; inhalation lengthens the spine assisting cerebrospinal fluid flow back into the brain while exhalation achieves the opposite.
This is why many people who suffer with chronic back pain feel much better when they move around as opposed to sitting or standing still for long periods.
Mobilization of Internal Organs
The rhythmic pressure changes produced by walking, also mobilize and massage your internal organs. This occurs as your diaphragm contracts rhythmically with the abdominal muscles to aid respiration, as well as stabilization of the body, the result of which is a massage for your internal organs. The movement, pressure changes and improved fluid transfer keep the internal organs mobile and healthy, improving their physiological functions individually and synergistically.
A typical example of a common internal organ dysfunction that often responds well to walking, hiking, or even climbing stairs is constipation. When people become sedentary, they lose the natural visceral mobilization provided by functional exercise. Couple this loss of needed activity with the dietary habits of modern man and you have constipation and a host of other reasons for the body to perform poorly!
In fact, today, it is common for people to report to hospital emergency rooms with terrible back and sciatic pain, only to be told that they are constipated and given a laxative, which frequently alleviates the back or sciatic pain. By simply walking as little as 30-60 minutes per day and drinking 1-2 litre of water this could have easily been prevented!
Whenever you can get outside into nature and walk, you will always attain increased benefit. Vitamin D from the sun, plus the uneven terrain stimulates the use of many different movement patterns, further assisting in massaging the organs, pressure changes and improved circulation. You also get a much-needed chance to breath fresh air and share your energy with Mother Nature’s life forms. Put all this together and you should be able to easily sell yourself on the idea of going for a walk, one of the easiest ways in the world to get healthy.