Walking is a natural activity that is restricted due to our lifestyle, work habits and the availability of automobiles.
As per health experts, it is one of the easiest and best health activities.
It benefits children, adults, older people, pregnant women, and even sick people with chronic diseases.
However, some avoid walking due to lack of time, air pollution, or laziness.
The human body has interdependent body systems that work in coordination for better health.
Walking is quite natural, like breathing, heartbeat, and other activities.
When such a natural activity is hindered, the rest of the body organs get disturbed.
So I advise you to go outdoors for a quiet walk if you feel lethargic, moody, or unwell.
Benefits of Walking for Health
As mentioned before, since the body parts are interconnected, walking brings normal movement to all of the body, from head to toe.
Hence, walking has effects on almost all body parts.
Effects of walking on gut and stomach
The gut is an organ whose physiology, like digestion, absorption, and expulsion of waste, is dependent on movements.
Due to this, the small and large intestines have periodic movements.
A sedentary life can affect this feature of the gut, and walking can reset it.
- Acidity is caused by excess secretion of acid in the stomach portion of the digestive tract.
- The prime cause of this excess secretion is stress.
- This stress can occur due to sedentary life, indigestion, and toxin accumulation in the gut (uncleared bowels).
- Acidity is a common problem in frequent travelers or drivers who frequently travel by bike, lorry, train, or other road transport.
- During transport, the gut is subjected to stress due to frequent bumps in the journey.
Walking helps relieve acidity.
- Because walking brings in movements of the muscles in the abdominal region and relieves stress.
- It also triggers the motility of the gut and expels gases, and clears stools.
- Hence, you will notice pleasant surprises on the first day of the walk.
In case of acidity, take drugs prescribed by your doctor and go for a walk.
- Digestion is a process that is also dependent on physical activity.
- Digestive enzymes secreted in the gut are mixed with food by intestinal movements. This aids the breakdown and absorption of food material into the blood.
- So walking helps improve digestion and also absorption of food into the blood.
- The more the activity, the better the digestion is as the system has to retake all the necessary nutrients lost due to exercise, i.e., walking.
Relief from constipation
Constipation occurs due to a lack of intestinal movements, the bulk of bowels, and water.
- If one is suffering from prolonged constipation, it is good to take a walk regularly.
- Having water before going for a walk also is more beneficial.
- As mentioned, walking enhances intestinal motility and clears stools.
Improves heart health (regularizes heart rate)
- For people with heart disease, it is said that they should minimize movements.
- But this does not apply to walking in most cases.
- Interestingly, walking for a short distance at a moderate pace helps regularize heartbeat and blood pressure.
- Further walking is the best exercise to strengthen heart muscles.
If you notice an abnormal heartbeat and believe it is due to a sedentary lifestyle, go for a walk. You will be relieved from it.
Better mental health
- Taking a brisk walk after awake in the morning enhances your mental health and keeps you active for the rest of the day.
- Also, those who sit for long and will have better health when they walk.
- Walking whenever chance permit during work or travel to the workplace is a healthy option.
Keeps muscles fit
- Walking strengthens the muscles of the stomach, legs, arm and hips.
- So it is good to maintain the fitness and shape of these muscles. And to some extent, it contributes to weight loss.
- You can notice that your body will seem fit and erect when you walk on a daily basis.
Helps overcome insomnia.
- Sedentary life is also a cause of insomnia.
- Walking regularly helps you keep your body and brain fit and get a sound sleep at bedtime.
Minimizes BP changes (blood pressure)
- Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of the blood vessels.
- So BP is related to the muscle strength of blood vessel walls.
- Walking, as mentioned before, tones up muscles of the legs, arms, belly, and also back.
- Similarly, walking tones up muscles in the walls of blood vessels. Further, it helps circulation to be active even in regions of low blood supply.
- This lets blood flow into every corner of the body, supplying oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells. So many patients with abnormal BP are advised to walk for favorable results.
Improves body tone
- Walking improves circulation even to the remote body parts.
- This helps in clearing toxins and waste due to enhanced circulation.
- Further, the enhanced blood circulation supplies nutrients to the nooks and corners of most cells.
- You can notice this after you start walking for a few weeks.
The body is toned up due to regular exercise.
Helps relieve the load on the kidney
- Expulsion of salt from the body is done mainly by the kidneys in the form of urine and sweat.
- But during a sedentary lifestyle, the chances of sweat are minimal and increase the load on the kidneys.
- Walking leads to perspiration and thereby promotes sweating and excretion through the skin.
- This helps decrease the load on the kidneys as some of the salt is expelled out by sweat.
Overcome depression & anxiety
- Mood disorders are thought to be caused by mental stress.
- Mental stress exaggerates due to lack of physical activity and goes down due to regular physical exercise.
- So walking is one of the best mental stress relievers.
- If you are stressed, go out for a walk in pleasant surroundings like a green farm or beside water bodies.
This will help you overcome anxiety and depression.
Minimizes discomforts of chronic diseases.
- In diabetes, many people have unwanted problems like body pains, headaches, etc.
- Walking on a regular basis helps one overcome these discomforts. Stress is said to be a prime causative factor for chronic diseases.
- Walking minimizes stress and helps overcome long-standing disorders.
Walking is a type of natural exercise and is said to strengthen the heart and other muscles.
Tips for a healthy walk
1. Always walk in the morning or evening when the sun is less intense.
- During this time, the body can tolerate the sun’s heat and generate essential vitamin D.
- Walking in the mornings is better as the weather is cool and also the air is fresh.
- Even in cities or areas with air pollution, the morning hours have low pollution.
- Relieve yourself in the morning by attending to nature calls and going for a walk.
- Walking in the evening after work hours helps relieves stress.
2. Have some water before going for a walk.
- Drinking water helps the body stay hydrated and soothes the digestive tract.
- It will also help free bowel movements and avoid constipation.
3. Walk on the clear ground instead of on grass.
4. Further, try walking barefoot, i.e., without footwear. You will notice that walking barefoot has a better grip even in loose soil and also stimulates the sole region.
Walking barefoot helps better blood circulation to the foot and sole area.
This also helps you feel a sense of ground, and you feel more relaxed. But avoid walking barefooted in filthy places or thorny places.