If you want to stay fit and healthy, it’s important to exercise regularly. This is because being physically active reduces your risk of developing health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. In addition to helping you live a longer and healthier life, exercise can also be beneficial for weight loss and maintenance. Fortunately, walking is a great form of physical activity that’s free, low risk and accessible to most people. In fact, walking isn’t just good for you; It is one of the easiest forms of exercise to incorporate into your day-to-day life.

Walking Burns Calories

The body needs energy (in the form of calories) for all the complex chemical reactions that allow you to move, breathe, think and function normally. However, daily calorie needs vary from person to person and are affected by things like your weight, sex, genes and activity level. It’s well known that you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight Furthermore, people who are more physically active burn more calories. However, modern living and work environments may mean that you spend large parts of your day sitting, especially if you have an office job.

Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle can not only contribute to weight gain, it can also increase your risk of health problems. Trying to get more exercise by walking more often can help you burn more calories and reduce these risks. In fact, walking a mile (1.6 km) burns approximately 100 calories, depending on your sex and weight. To increase the intensity of your walk and burn even more calories, try walking on routes with hills or slight inclines.

It Helps Preserve Lean Muscle

When people cut calories and lose weight, they often lose some muscle in addition to body fat. This can be counterproductive, as muscle is more metabolically active than fat. This means it helps you burn more calories each day. Exercise, including walking, can help counter this effect by preserving lean muscle when you lose weight.

This can help reduce the drop in metabolic rate that often occurs with weight loss, making your results easier to maintain. What’s more, it can reduce age-related muscle loss, helping you retain more of your muscle strength and function

Belly Fat

Storing a lot of fat around your midsection has been linked to an increased risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In fact, men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches (102 cm) and women with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches (88 cm) have abdominal obesity, which is considered a health risk. One of the most effective ways to reduce belly fat is to regularly take part in aerobic exercise, such as walking

It is advisable to regularly take part in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise like walking, because it has been shown to help people lose belly fat.

It Improves Your Mood

Exercise is known to boost your mood. In fact, physical activity has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of stress, depression and anxiety. It does this by making your brain more sensitive to the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine. These hormones relieve feelings of depression and stimulate the release of endorphins, which make you feel happy.

This is a great benefit in itself. However, experiencing an improvement in mood when you walk regularly might also make the habit easier to keep up with. Even better, some studies have found that if you enjoy a physical activity, it can increase the likelihood that you will continue to do it. People tend to exercise less if they don’t enjoy it, which can be a result of the exercise being too physically demanding.

This makes walking an excellent choice, as it’s a moderate-intensity exercise. That’s likely to motivate you to walk more, rather than give up.

Walking Can Help You Keep Weight Off

Many people who lose weight end up gaining it all back. However, regular exercise plays an important role in helping you maintain weight loss. Regular exercise like walking does not only help increase the amount of energy you burn day-to-day, but it also helps you build more lean muscle so that you burn more calories, even at rest.

A recent review estimated that to maintain a stable weight, you should walk at least 150 minutes per week. However, if you’ve lost a lot of weight, you may need to exercise more than 200 minutes per week to prevent yourself from regaining it. In fact, studies have found that people who exercise the most are usually the most successful at maintaining their weight loss, whereas people who exercise the least are likely to regain the weight.  

Incorporating more walking into your day can help you increase the amount of exercise you do and contribute towards your daily activity goals.

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