Don’t we love to spend 30-40 minutes easily every day scrolling endlessly on Instagram or Facebook? It’s totally fine as most of us do that. But instead of spending your precious time on phone, use it to reap some health benefits. No we are not saying to put your phone down but walk with it.Use your time judiciously to take a walk around the neighborhood. Here’s why!
There are many reasons why you might want to give walking a second thought such as making you stay slim, boosting your energy, keeping the heart healthy, improving your mood and staving you off sickness. Getting out is wonderful for your mood and well-being as it impacts your mental health in a positive way. Simply walking for just 30 minutes a day can do wonders for your body and has been shown to offer great benefits. Here are 6 health benefits of walking 30-minutes daily.
1. You can burn up to 170 calories
Walking is an excellent way to burn calories and lose weight. A key component in maintaining a healthy body mass is increasing the energy expenditure (EE). Studies suggest that walking increases EE above resting values. Depending on your body weight, the pace and intensity of your walk, you’re likely to burn anywhere between 125 to 167 calories whenever you take a half-hour stroll. .
Adding some extra steps to your day through walking is also an effective way to mobilize excess fat, shed those extra pounds, and positively alter body composition, especially if you’re just starting out. By walking, calories stored as fat will be used thereby helping you to lose weight. It is a good reason to build up your walking endurance so you can walk for 30 minutes or more at a time.
2. Your digestion is likely to improve
After eating a heavy meal, try not to laze around on the couch in front of the TV. Instead opt for a 30-minute walk that can help get things moving in your digestive tract, help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and aid in digestion. Walking after a gap of 20 minutes post major meals has been found to increase the rate at which food particles are digested. Overweight people with a sedentary lifestyle can manage their blood sugar levels and improve their bowel movements to some extent, just by walking post meals instead of staring at the television or lying on the couch.
3. Your legs will become more toned
Walking is one of the best aerobic exercises for beginners. In fact, it’s an inexpensive way for people of just about any fitness level to start toning their body. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can strengthen and tone the muscles in your thighs and calves. Pair your walks with strength-training exercises like squats, lunges or planks and you’ll notice even better results.
Walking helps build muscular strength and endurance in your legs and torso and contributes to toning and tightening of your lower body and midsection. So you can realistically trim some of the dreaded fat from your key muscle areas like thighs and tone them within a month or two by walking diligently every day for 30 minutes or more.
4. You might feel motivated to exercise more
After a few weeks of walking on a regular basis, you might be inspired to take it to the next level and try a 30-minute run or jog. When you become a regular walker, you might have established a definite routine, which will make you more likely to continue with the activity and take on new healthy behaviors. Walking regularly can also help you get closer to other goals you have set your mind to.
5. Your mood will improve
You don’t have to take a glass of wine or binge on that tempting piece of dark chocolate to blunt the edge of a rough day. Going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy that promises the same or perhaps greater benefits.[2, 3] Walking regularly can also make you more active, energetic and creative. Whether it is at school, home or work, your memory, agility, and your reaction to different stimuli will significantly change for the better when you start walking diligently.
6. You’ll have a restful sleep at night
Your body recovers from the day’s stresses while you are asleep. Being well-rested helps optimize your cognitive functions. However, if you are sleep-deprived, your brain doesn’t fully recover, putting you at a deficit. Walking moderately for 30 minutes or more daily makes you sleep faster and deeper, and improves sleep efficiency and sleep quality while also reducing the need for medications to promote sleep. Walking also helps alleviate pain and stress, which can cause sleep disturbances.
Walking: How To Get Started
Walking doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Follow these few ideas for increasing your step count:
Set a reminder and go for a regular 15-30 minute walk, preferably outdoors, post meals. Smaller changes over time can give way to bigger gains. Instead of setting a grandiose goal of an hour of walking, try to increase your current activity by 10 minutes each day for a few weeks, and then try to up that number by another 10 minutes once you’ve gotten used to your routine. Remember slow and steady wins the race!
Use a fitness tracker- A good fitness tracker can be a motivating tool to help you get moving. You can also log your exercise in an app along with your nutrition habits to help you get a holistic picture of your health and achieve your desired goals.
Wear a pedometer while walking- A pedometer measures the number of steps you take. It keeps track of your steps throughout the day, so you can know your steps for the week or the month. Achieving lesser steps then the previous day can motivate you to exceed your target the next day.
Ultimately, some form of physical activity is better than none for overall health. Start small and build up to a higher duration and intensity. If you’re already walking 30-minute a day, keep going. Find ways to challenge yourself whether it’s adding incline, changing the terrain, walking backwards or participating in a walking marathon. Once you get that first step out of the way you have already built momentum.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Wilkin LD, Cheryl A, Haddock BL. Energy expenditure comparison between walking and running in average fitness individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Apr;26(4):1039-44.
2. Repke Meredith A, Berry Meredith S, Conway Lucian G, et al. How does nature exposure make people healthier?: Evidence for the role of impulsivity and expanded space perception. PLoS One. 2018; 13(8): e0202246.
3. Mammen G, Faulkner G. Physical activity and the prevention of depression: a systematic review of prospective studies. Am J Prev Med. 2013 Nov; 45(5): 649-57.