For a long time, it was considered narrow-minded, but since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been experiencing a boom: the walk. A trend that is worth sticking to. Find out why walking is healthy and how you can use it to shed excess pounds.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week, spread over three to five days. The quota can be easily reached with brisk hikes and makes an essential contribution to our well-being. But why is walking healthy, the advantages of losing weight, and what can you do if your new hobby has lost its appeal?
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Aristotle was already known for thinking and teaching while walking. Poets, thinkers and writers like Goethe also strolled in nature and always found beautiful words. Oxygen plays a role in this. Exercising outdoors stimulates the blood and oxygen supply to the thinking centre; it thus becomes more efficient.
Moving breaks also clear your mind again. When we brood, we use the prefrontal cortex (thinking centre), but its capacity is not unlimited. We notice that at the latest when nothing works anymore. Exercise demands a different area of the brain and thus relieves the prefrontal cortex. Afterwards, we are ready for new intellectual challenges.
The grey cells need oxygen to work. On the one hand, the movement stimulates the blood and oxygen supply and increases mental performance. On the other hand, sport also enables necessary pauses for thought.
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Gentle On The Joints
Lose weight by walking? When it comes to shedding extra pounds, many people think of jogging first. Sure, running consumes more energy than walking. But heavy runners, in particular, can overload their bones, tendons and joints with poor footwear and incorrect technique. The walk is much gentler.
This should be at least 30 minutes long so that the metabolism can work properly. A speed of 5 to 6 kilometres per hour is recommended. Increase the intensity by walking uphill in your route – or by adding two sticks. The Nordic Walking strengthens further arms, shoulders and back.
Going for a walk is particularly healthy if you are overweight, as it does not unnecessarily strain the supporting apparatus. We particularly recommend at least 30 minutes at a time at a speed of 5 to 6 kilometres per hour.
Strengthens The Heart And Circulation
Nowadays, many people sit almost all day – at their desks, in the car and on the couch. But physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. And they are the number one cause of death in Germany. It is therefore essential to be active at all times and all ages.
The blood vessels widen as a result of the gentle endurance sport. This lowers the pressure in your veins. Good HDL cholesterol, which can prevent vascular calcification, also increases. Especially after a heart attack or if you already have coronary artery disease, going for a walk is beneficial because the heart is trained but not overloaded.
The heart and circulation can be strengthened step by step without overwhelming the body.
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Fit Immune System
Even in the rain, wind or cold, a walk in the fresh air is worthwhile. This gets the circulation going, and our mucous membranes in the nose and throat are moistened. This makes it difficult for pathogens to penetrate our bodies.
There is another benefit to outdoor sports, especially from March to October. Then the UV-B rays ensure that we produce enough vitamin D in our skin. The sun vitamin is essential for our immune system. The immune cells are only mobilized when available in sufficient quantities, so intruders have bad cards.
Exercise outdoors moisturizes the mucous membranes, stimulates their blood circulation and can stimulate the formation of vitamins. This means we are better equipped against germs.
Hello Stress Buffer
Frustration in the relationship? Time pressure at work? Stressed people like to grab chips and chocolate. This phenomenon gave birth to evolution. Even in ancient times, the body release adrenaline when life was in danger. The hormone enabled fight or flight and made us forget any appetite. Once the threat was over, the body reclaimed the energy it had used and the cravings set in thanks to cortisol.
To counteract the adverse effects of stress, it helps to internalize the original function of the reaction, i.e. fight or flee. The walk is less strenuous but still effective. It effectively breaks down the stress hormones and thus also has a positive effect on weight. Or do it like the Japanese and go for a stroll, dawdle, rest and smell in the forest. The so-called Shinrin Yoku, translated as forest bathing, is even part of Japanese health care.
A trip to the countryside effectively breaks down stress hormones, which sometimes promote food cravings.
Making Everyday Office Life Work
Working people who are mostly seated often complain of tension. Prolonged standing is just as strenuous in the long run and causes “heavy legs”. In addition, this passivity does nothing for the figure. But a desk job can be done more actively. Get off one stop earlier on the way to work and walk the remaining meters. You can also park the car so that there is still a walking distance. In the office or home office, you can also wander up and down reading mail or thinking, or do the same as Steve Jobs. The Apple founder relied on walking meetings.
The principle is straightforward: Instead of sitting in a circle of chairs or around a table, the team gathers outside the office and runs to brainstorm and problem-solve. Especially in Corona, walking meetings outside is an alternative for those cases where personal encounters are essential. Telephone calls can also be held in this style, and you can burn kilocalories simultaneously.
Walking meetings can enrich everyday office life and burn kilocalories as a nice side effect.
Collecting Steps Made Easy
While Corona has turned many people into passionate walkers, others can no longer gain much from the new hobby. To outsmart your weaker self, pedometers or fitness apps can awaken the necessary motivation. The little helpers visualize the daily workload, and if a few steps are still missing to the day’s goal, the will to win will undoubtedly be tickled out.
Provide variety and leave the well-trodden paths or choose paths that at first glance are not. Explore new routes with a folding map or travel guide. Don’t be afraid to explore less beautiful areas. They have the advantage that they are not so heavily frequented. Geocaching also brings new fun. For the scavenger hunt via GPS, beginners only need a smartphone and a corresponding app.
Pedometers or fitness apps tempt you to take more steps. New corners can be explored with a folding map or travel guide, and geocaching is fun.
Knowledge To Take Away
Those who exercise little have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or being overweight. In particular, brisk walking is very healthy and helps you lose weight, as the joints are not overused. At the same time, the heart and circulation are trained. A lap in the fresh air also supports the immune system and lowers the level of stress.
If the motivation is in the basement, step counters or fitness apps can help. Likewise, new routes or geocaching give the walk a new look. Walking meetings bring fresh impetus to professional life.
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