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Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of Walking

Exercise doesn’t have to be high-impact to be beneficial; you don’t have to pound machines at the gym, all red-faced and gasping, to stay fit. A good old-fashioned walk, taken regularly, can do just as much good as a high-energy workout, if not more, especially if you’re wanting to avoid injuries. Here are the main benefits of walking.

It protects your heart

Walking slashes your risk of heart disease or stroke as it’s amazing cardio exercise. It reduces the levels of low-density lipids (bad cholesterol) and raises the high-density lipids (good). It’s been found that a daily 30-minute walk lowers blood pressure and can reduce the risk of a stroke by more than a quarter.

It protects against many other diseases

Regular walks reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes by around two-thirds and you’re also a fifth less likely to develop breast, colon or uterine cancer.

You’ll lose weight

If you take a leisurely stroll – 2mph for an hour – you’ll work off 150 calories. A brisker, shorter walk will do the same. If you can find a way to do 30 minutes’ walking at around 4mph each day, you’ll soon see the results.

It prevents dementia

Seniors who walk at least six miles a week are far less likely to develop any sort of dementia. As one out of 14 people over 65 develop dementia, this is a goal worth working (or walking) towards.

You’ll tone up

Your bum, calves, quads and thighs will soon look better, especially if you walk uphill sometimes. Standing properly upright will work your abs, too.

You’ll feel more energetic

A brisk walk is a great way to clear the cobwebs; boosting oxygen levels and your circulation. If you feel you’re flagging in the afternoon, a 20-minute trot will sort you out.

It makes you happier

Exercise really does improve your mood and your mental attitude. Many people with mild depression find that a regular walk has the same effect as taking antidepressants (if you’re suffering from depression, don’t stop taking your meds without your doctor’s advice). Walking releases endorphins, which make you happier and less anxious. You often find that you meet the same people on your rounds, which can help too.

What are you waiting for? Get those laces tied and go!

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