Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve your health. Studies show that walking 30 minutes each day can improve mental health, weight loss, and injury prevention. It will also lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Let’s review even more benefits of walking and how to maximize recovery.
Walking is a convenient way to burn extra calories, support your weight loss goal, and improve cardiovascular health.
Researchers agree that walking promotes both short-term and long-term weight management. Studies show that just 30 minutes per day of walking, regardless of the intensity, was enough to lower total body weight, percentage body fat, body mass index, and fat mass.
Best of all, walking has the lowest risk of injury when compared to other methods of fitness including weightlifting and sports training.
Given how easy it is to start, its proven results, and low rate of injury, walking has one of the highest rates of long-term compliance when compared to other forms of fitness, making it ideal for long-term weight management and overall health.
Mental Health and Mindset
Mental health is finally getting the attention it deserves, making it okay for people to open up about how they are feeling and effective ways to resolve common conditions like depression and anxiety.
For those seeking natural methods of treatment, or if you’re just looking to improve how you feel on a day-to-day basis, walking is for you. Walking has been shown to improve mental health conditions while promoting cognitive functioning.
A study in the National Institute of Mental Health found that 17.3 million adults in the United States have at least one episode of depression. While prescription medications are available, they also come with a list of potential side effects.
Studies show that walking is a safe and natural treatment for symptoms of depression. One study found that the more time spent walking, the greater the reported benefits in health-related quality of life. Walking can also serve as a complement to those who must take medication for depression.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States. Unfortunately, those who suffer from anxiety tend to also have depressive episodes and vice versa.
Fortunately, studies show that walking can help to alleviate anxiety-based symptoms. Much like with depression, researchers found that more is generally better, but it’s key to aim for at least 30 minutes per day.
Did you know that Charles Dickens would regularly go on 20-mile walks after his morning writing session? Beethoven had a similar write-walk-repeat routine.
If you’re in marketing, writing, or any other type of creative field, ideas literally pay the bills. One of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing is by walking.
Studies show that numerous experiments had the same outcome: walking increased the number of creative ideas that the subjects had while boosting memory.
Walking has been shown to reduce the risk of preventable diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and heart disease. Here’s how:
Elevated levels of low-density lipoproteins or LDL cholesterol is a red flag for heart disease. You want to maximize your high-density lipoproteins or HDL cholesterol while keeping your LDL in check. Walking can help you do this.
Studies show that a regular walking schedule can promote healthy levels of cholesterol and reduce your risk for preventable diseases.
Improves Glucose Response and Lower Blood Sugar
Eating too many carbohydrates can skyrocket blood sugar levels, leading to an energy crash and the conversion of excess glucose to stored fat. When this consistently happens over a long period of time, your body becomes glucose resistant, the precursor for type-2 diabetes.
Walking has been shown to be an effective method of improving glucose response while burning excess calories. Studies found that a walk after a meal for as little as 15 minutes was enough to significantly improve the body’s glucose response.
Anti-aging and extending your life span have been a major focus during the last decade. Want to live longer? It could be as simple as going out for a walk.
Studies show that walking can extend your expected lifespan by dramatically reducing your risk for all-cause and cardiovascular disease risk mortality. Researchers noted that increased walking speed might provide more benefits.
Optimizing Walking Performance
Ready to get outside for a walk? Here are the essentials for preparing for and optimizing your walking performance and recovery.
Prepare for Your Walk
Before heading out for your walk, take a few minutes to stretch. I recommend starting from the bottom with your calves and working your way up to the hamstrings, calves, hips, and even the upper body.
After a quick round of stretching, walk for a few minutes, then do it once more, focusing on the lower body.
Since most of us are glued to our computers and phones, it’s easy to fall into bad habits during a walk. Before you begin, make sure your shoulders are back, your chest is up, and you have a neutral gaze.
You should hold this power posture throughout your walk. If you’re not used to it, stop to stretch your upper body every 10 minutes or so.
Recovery and Nutrition
Nutrition is paramount to your post-walk recovery. Try to focus on primarily natural and whole food selections of lean proteins (e.g., chicken breast), healthy fats (e.g., avocado), and complex carbohydrates (e.g., brown rice).
Before a walk, I recommend an electrolyte-based drink such as mineral water or a low-or-no sugar sports drink.
After your walk, consume a lean protein to boost muscle tissue recovery. Whey protein shakes are convenient and proven to support muscle repair.
Blood Flow and Recovery
Blood flow plays an equally important role in recovery because it’s how nutrients for repair get to the areas they are needed most. What’s more, improved blood flow can reduce soreness and the time needed to recover.
Better Walks, Better Health
Does it get any easier than walking? This simple form of exercise has been shown to promote a variety of health benefits. If you want to support your walking performance and recovery, compression socks can help.
Worn during and after a walk, compression socks support proper blood flow, nutrient delivery and uptake, and overall recovery. Check out our full collection of stylish and helpful compression socks.
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- Mann, Stefan & Ultsch, Dominique & Dietl, Melanie & Jansen, Petra. (2016). The Effects of Compression Socks on Arterial Blood Flow and Arterial Reserves in Amateur Sportsmen. Journal of sports science. 1. 1-9.