Now in the corona time we all walk a bit together. There are many initiatives to encourage us to walk daily. Such as the Ommetje app. We can and can do little else now. But besides being our only pastime now, there are few forms of exercise as good for our body as walking. Hopefully we will continue to maintain this habit.
What is walking good for?
Walking is good for your heart, lungs, blood vessels, blood pressure, stress level, cholesterol, bones, muscles, joints, intestines, sleep, your mood, your memory, weight loss and for the absorption of vitamin D. This is quite a list. And all of these things are so incredibly important for us to feel healthy and fit. And not just feeling it, but walking for 30 minutes a day really reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The risk of diabetes, brain disorders and even cancer is also reduced by walking every day.
But in addition to all the physical benefits, walking also has major benefits on your mood and stress level. You simply feel more cheerful. Which actually reduces depression or negative feelings. This is not to say, when you are depressed, walking heals you completely. Walking does help with the recovery process and especially to prevent depressive and negative feelings.
Because you take the walk in the open air, your body also produces vitamin D. With all the advantages of this. Vitamin D is very important for our body, we cannot do without it.
How do you start walking with a bad condition or complaints?
By literally taking the first step, this does not have to be fast or long, but take that first step. When you are not in good shape, starting is the most difficult step. Then walking 30 minutes already sounds like a marathon. Getting to those 30 minutes takes time and energy. And this really does not have to be done within a week. Allow yourself the pleasure of being outside and getting moving. Even if you experience pain in the legs, knees, hips or ankles, walking is often very well possible. But don’t suddenly start with 30 minutes. Don’t look at others, but look at yourself. Experience the benefits of taking a walk regularly. At your own pace and for as long as you want.
There are many aids for building walking. There are schedules on the internet, walking groups throughout the Netherlands or a physiotherapist can guide you.
After a week you will notice that your condition improves, your body becomes stronger and your mood improves.
Walking or intensive sports?
Daily walking is better than a few short and intensive sports, according to exercise scientist Hans Savelberg. He has researched the effects of walking.
Walking is often not seen as a sport. And this is unfair, it has the same or more benefits than some sports. Of course it depends on what goal you want to achieve. You won’t be able to run a marathon by walking alone. Also, your arm muscles will not be trained.
But walking has certainly proven its added value on all of the above points. Because walking is moderately intensive, and many sports are high or extremely high intensive, walking has many advantages. Much less chance of injuries, your organs are less stressed and the stress level lowers. With long intensive sports (> 45 minutes) the stress level actually increases in the body.
Is walking good for wear in the hips or knees?
Yes, walking is very suitable for wear in the hips or knees. Walking improves the quality of the cartilage. Due to the pressure load on the cartilage, the cartilage is stimulated to become stronger. So walking is good to prevent wear and tear complaints in the hips and knees. But even if these complaints are already there, walking helps with recovery.
Take that first step to make walking a habit!