Regardless of whether you prefer to run, walk or jog, cardiovascular exercise is one of the most important aspects of any fitness plan. A good cardio workout burns calories, improves heart health and helps to strengthen bones.
Walking is a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise, which means that it does not put as much strain on your joints as running or jogging does. As a result, it is ideal for anyone with joint problems like arthritis or who is not ready to take the risk of hurting their knees.
Brisk walking burns plenty of calories and can help you lose weight. To maximize weight loss, pair walking with other exercise and healthy eating habits. “It’s important to incorporate other types of movement into your exercise routine, such as strength training to sculpt and preserve muscle, and upping the protein in your diet,” says Jampolis.
Studies have shown that pounding the pavement burns more calories than sitting or lying down. A brisk walk can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Research also suggests that physical activity, such as walking, improves mental health. In fact, researchers have discovered that the decision-making parts of your brain get a boost after you exercise.
Although many people walk to get exercise, some do not realize that it can also help build strong bones. As a weight-bearing activity, walking strengthens bones and helps to counteract the effects of gravity on bone density. In the large Nurses’ Health Study, women who walked for 4 hours a week had a much lower risk of hip fractures than those who walked less often.
Walking doesn’t give you the same “runner’s high” as a jog, but it’s still an important part of any exercise routine. In addition to boosting cardiovascular health and maintaining everyday strength, it can help you sleep better and keep your brain healthy.
It also increases blood flow and circulation, which can help calm your central nervous system. A 2022 study published in Molecular Psychiatry found that 60-minute walks outdoors significantly decreases activity in the regions of your brain associated with stress.