Exercise is vital for keeping us fit and strong, and assisting in building and maintaining healthy bones, keeping internal organs happy, managing weight, and much more.
It has also been proven that exercise can keep you mentally well, and improve anxiety and mood swings.
As some people age, intense exercise regimes may become too hard to maintain and, therefore, walking becomes the easiest solution.
Walking has many benefits, such as reduction in the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, anxiety and depression as well as premature death from various causes.
So, what are the benefits of walking? We asked the experts.
Walking can improve aerobic fitness. This means that the heart improves its ability to pump oxygen to our muscles. However, no stroll can bring you these benefits. Experts say that walking must be at least at a moderate/brisk intensity. This is where you can notice your heart beating faster and your breathing picking up, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation without major pauses between words.
Another simple benefit is improved flexibility and reduced joint pain. Studies have shown that daily brisk walking increases lubrication of joints, can narrow chances of arthritis and protect against the development of joint degeneration.
Strength is also a benefit of walking, with studies show that walking 30 minutes daily at a moderate intensity can help prevent sarcopenia (age-related loss in muscle size and strength).
But, there have been numerous expert debates which are questioning if walking really is enough exercise.
Here’s what Sports Scientist Jackson Fyfe believes.
‘Walking is, of course, better than no exercise at all, but to maximise health benefits, a combination of aerobic-type (running, cycling, swimming) and strength-type exercise (lifting weights or bodyweight exercises) should be performed regularly. We know being unfit shortens life, and countering the losses of muscle strength/power and bone density as we age can improve our ability to perform daily tasks, while reducing the risk of falls and associated complications. Walking alone is simply not sufficient for most people, although it may provide a platform to more specific, intense exercise. So, moderate-intensity aerobic and strength training should also be incorporated into regular exercise programs. Of course, this does not mean walking does not have benefits, but there are aspects of the health-promoting effects of exercise that walking alone cannot provide.’
So, you decide. What’s the best way to stay fit? Do you agree with Mr Fyfe?
Do you think just walking is a sufficient amount of exercise to stay healthy?
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.