Walking is the oldest sport in the world. It provides our body and mind with multiple benefits without the need for strenuous effort. Walking is one of the first things we learn to do in life, and if we get used to doing it at a good pace and with regular continuity, walking can be a great way to stay fit and healthy. Just half an hour a day is enough to feel the benefits.
Walking during Covid times
Even during the pandemic, walking is one of the easiest and most fun ways to stay fit and keep a healthy and clear mind. However, although this activity can be done in open spaces such as footpaths, promenades or mountain trails, it is essential that we follow the guidelines to avoid Covid-19 transmission:
- Use of a mask, especially in crowded places or when walking in small groups.
- Keep a safe distance (two metres) from any other person.
- Avoid any physical contact with other people.
- Wash your hands frequently. Bottles of hydroalcoholic gel are a great solution and should always be kept at hand.
The benefits of walking for half an hour
If we follow the above guidelines the risk of contracting the virus will be severely reduced and everything should be fine. Now all we need to do is put on a pair of comfortable shoes and set off on our daily route. If we manage to make walking a routine, our body and mind will thank us, and these are all the reasons why:
1 Walking for half an hour or more reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. This means that one is less likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, hypertension or even a heart attack. Moderate exercise will stabilise blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as reduce bad cholesterol (LDL).
2 Walking at a brisk pace will also bring about beneficial changes to the respiratory system and increase lung capacity. If one is recurring and consistent, they will soon notice how the same distance will be covered in less time and with much less effort.
3 Going for a walk should be a must for those who are aiming to lose some weight. Depending on the terrain´s slope, the pace and the elevation above sea level, our body will be activated to a greater or lesser extent which will cause a caloric expenditure that will help us to burn fat.
4 You will soon notice that your legs are much stronger. Better developed lower body muscles will have a double effect: it will prevent the appearance of cellulite, or eliminate it if it already exists, and it will also serve to protect against the potential appearance of varicose veins.
5 Walking not only strengthens the muscles in the lower limbs, but also tones our backside, back, abdomen and even the arms. All this leads to an improved posture that will help prevent future injuries. In addition, studies have shown that people who regularly exercise outdoors have a denser bone structure and are therefore less likely to suffer from osteoporosis.
6 During any physical activity the body eliminates toxins through perspiration. It is therefore essential to stay well hydrated at all times in order to ensure the body´s proper functioning, particularly the digestive system which may otherwise suffer from constipation.
7 Physical activity reduces stress and improves our general state of mind. This is caused by the release of endorphins – hormones that make us feel good about ourselves – in the area of the brain that deals with emotions. The simple act of walking several times a week will hinder the onset of depression and improve our memory and concentration.
8 Walking provides us with precious downtime for inward reflection. Exercise can provoke pleasant cognitive sensations that may lead to peaceful reflection or inspiration. In addition, the more beautiful our surrounding environment, the better we will feel during the activity. Everything helps.
9 Last but not least, regular exercise also helps to improve sexual relations. Routine physical exertion will pay off with an increase in stamina during moments of intimacy.