Taking A Walk To Improve Your Health

By now, everyone knows that walking regularly is good for your health. This explains the explosion in popularity of “wearable” technology that tracks how many steps you take in a day. A few years ago, everyone started wearing FitBit bracelets; now, it seems people have more or less made the transition to Apple Watches. But beyond a nebulous understanding that taking more steps is generally good, how much do we really know about the science behind the benefits of walking? 

With the rise of these trackers, we have all been told that in order to be healthy a person should walk at least 10,000 steps a day. It is true that taking that many steps daily is indeed good for one’s well-being. That said, research shows that you don’t need to take even that many to improve your health. It all depends on your baseline. For example, on a normal day, the average person takes only about 4,000 steps. For those people, taking it up a notch or two to 5,000 or 6,000 steps a day will yield immediate benefits. On the other hand, people who already walk 10,000 steps daily without breaking a sweat would be wise to aim for a higher goal, such as 12,000 or 15,000 steps. 

Walking regularly comes with a host of benefits, some more obvious than others. It should come as no surprise that frequent walks can fight off obesity and diabetes. A high step count is also important to lower the risk of heart disease. More proximately, walking lowers blood pressure, eases joint pain and boosts your energy. With these effects, it can even stave off mental illnesses like depression. 

Although most of us have been walking since infancy, that does not mean we are all pros. As the amount of time we spend sitting down hunched over keyboards increases, the act of walking becomes less and less natural. To fully experience the benefits of daily constitutionals, you should be conscious of your posture. Walking with good posture entails keeping your head up, your shoulders back and your arms swinging at your sides. Once you’ve got that down, focus on tightening your core muscles, which means sucking in your stomach. Keep all this in mind as you walk, and if you ever slip up, be sure to correct yourself. While it may seem difficult at first, remember the health benefits, and remember that humans have been walking properly for thousands of years. Eventually walking will become natural once again, and you will be well on your way to improving your personal well-being.