Simple Regular Exercise: Walking

You may not often find time to pursue sporting activities or maybe you are not a sporty type but fortunately there are some very simple ways of remaining fit which will keep you in top form providing you make them part of your daily schedule.

The very best of these simple exercises is walking. The benefits are huge and it is better than jogging as there is less strain on the joints. This is not about speed walking as you see in the Olympic Games but walking at a speed that suits you, not a stroll either, at a consistent pace for a stretch of time decided on by you. I would say walk for at least half an hour, longer if you can, but even if you have very little time then a fifteen minute, brisk walk each day will still have some effect. Let’s look more closely at the benefits of walking.

Health benefits

Research has given us hard evidence of the advantages to health that walking brings. It is a great preventative medicine for high blood pressure and diabetes. It reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer. In addition it is also believed to be helpful for depression, constipation, insomnia, lowering stress levels, and general wellbeing. You may be thinking that you are too young to be worrying about any of these health conditions but the point is that it is better to start early. As a student the benefits of keeping fit, sleeping well, and a general sense of wellbeing are obvious. Apart from the activity of walking you will also be out in the fresh air and hopefully the greener parts of town or campus.

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Fairly even terrain is the best for walking. You do not want to be climbing. Set your pace and keep to it for at least fifteen minutes when your body will become accustomed to the demands you are making of it. When you feel comfortable try speeding up a little, or if you feel tired then slow down a little but keep a good, constant rhythm. As soon as you feel more energy then walk faster. Please do not feel you are in a race. This is not about fastest times and you can alternate fast and slow pacing according to how you are feeling. The benefits are the same. If you feel out of breath then slow down. The most important factors to remember are regularity, do this every day; a good walking surface that is not too uneven so that you can maintain your pace without difficulty; an unbroken rhythm, do not stop to look at something. If you are walking for longer than half an hour then you can break your walk into two parts and take a short break halfway before returning. Five to ten minutes is plenty.

Enjoying the walk

Walking together with friends is fun. Your joints will be taking less of a pounding than if you were running. Not only do you increase your metabolic rate but that higher rate is maintained for a while after you have finished walking. You will gradually increase your muscle strength and walking will become easier. Keep it up for good sleep, less stress, and greater alertness.