Walking is an intrinsic function of us humans and although it may seem an automatic and natural response, it has many practical uses – including to our health.

Unfortunately, most people don’t choose walking over transportation. This is why this simplest form of exercise doesn’t get the respect it should get, particularly when it comes to its health benefits.

Ever since the 70s, aerobics have been considered the best exercise. And there’s that “no pain, no gain” slogan, which encourages people to work out as hard as possible. Depending on how hard you work out, you can boost your heart rate to at least 70% of its maximum. Running is considered the best aerobics exercise, but simply walking can give you benefits including reducing cardiovascular death by up to 50%.

Walking Towards Health

Walking is one of the best moderate physical activities known to man and it can benefit our health as we grow old. According to a Finnish study headed by Riitta Antikainen from the University of Oulu, older adults who remain physically active have decreased risk for coronary heart disease and strokes. They are also less likely to die due to cardiovascular disease. Walking has a lot of benefits to our cardiovascular health and the more you perform the activity, the more it protects you from the following risk factors of the disease:

Hypertension

Walking regularly can keep your heart healthy. The healthier your heart is, the more blood it can pump without using much effort. Hearts that don’t need to work more don’t need to exert more force on the arteries, which then leads to lower blood pressure.

Type 2 Diabetes

People who have type 2 diabetes have a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. But walking can stop diabetes effectively. As long as you eat healthy and you are physically active, raised blood glucose can be prevented.

High Cholesterol

You can also reduce cholesterol levels through walking, which can raise your HDL cholesterol and reduce triglyceride levels. HDL cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that can protect the heart.

Obesity

Being overweight and obese also increases your risk to heart disease. But by simply walking daily, you can reduce your weight to healthy levels. Make sure you eat healthy as well and eliminate foods that aren’t contributing to weight loss.

The study says that walking, cycling, and other moderate exercises, can be beneficial for the body and healthy when done regularly – at least four hours every week.

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