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There are many benefits to walking for exercise. Improved physical fitness and weight loss are two of the most commonly cited benefits. Walking for exercise is an aerobic activity, meaning it increases the heart rate, strengthening the heart and increasing the capacity and endurance of the lungs. These cardiovascular benefits of walking are important for people of all ages.
One of the first benefits of walking for exercise is that it can be enjoyed by nearly anyone, from kids to the elderly. It is a low impact exercise compared to jogging, for example, meaning that it does not put undue pressure on the joints and bones. It does help to keep the bones strong, however, and can help to prevent fractures in older people. Be sure to wear supportive walking shoes with a sturdy heel and flexible insole, and to gently stretch after a walking workout to prevent muscle tightness. In addition, wear brightly colored clothing when walking outside, and wear reflectors at night to prevent accidents; be sure that headphones are turned low enough to hear a car horn if necessary.
Because walking for exercise is an aerobic workout, it also burns calories. The amount of calories burned depends on one's height, weight, time spent walking, and the walking speed, but there are many calculators available online that can help to determine the amount of calories that were burned in an exercise session. When doing an aerobic activity such as walking in conjunction with eating a healthy diet, it can help one to lose weight, or to maintain a healthy weight.
When trying to walk for aerobic benefits, it is important to walk briskly. One should be breathing heavily enough to carry on a conversation, but not to sing, for example. Some people use pedometers to track their steps, which can also tell them at what pace they are walking. It is fine to start walking for exercise at a slower pace, then gradually increase the pace as physical fitness improves. Walking can also help to improve balance and coordination.
Other benefits of walking for exercise are often mental benefits. Exercise helps to release endorphins in the brain, which can alleviate stress and mild depression, and even boost the mood. In addition, walking can help improve energy levels throughout the day, as well as help one to fall asleep more easily at night. All of these benefits can help to reduce anxiety and high blood pressure as well. These are just a few of the many benefits from this simple exercise.