Benefits of Walking: Why Walk?
Regular walking has many benefits for your health. It can help to prevent many chronic diseases and extend your life expectancy. Brisk walks require no special equipment and can easily fit into your daily routine.
1. Walking puts you in a better mood
Walking has a positive effect on your mental health. Studies show that it helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression. The next time you find yourself in a bad mood, put on your shoes and go outside for a short walk. Combine it, for example, with a coffee stop at your favourite cafe. Walking can be easily incorporated into daily life. To get started, include a brisk half-hour walk into your routine at least three times a week.
2. You will burn more calories and lose weight more easily
Is your goal to maintain weight or lose weight? But jogging is still beyond your strength or has not grabbed your interest? Walking is a viable alternative. It is a pleasant and painless way to get more movement and more of the outdoors into your life. An advantage is that you burn energy almost exclusively from fats, so you won’t feel exhausted and you will not strain your joints.
Walking doesn’t burn many calories on its own; rather, it takes hours of walking per day if your goal is purely to lose weight. It is best combined with more intensive workouts for weight loss.
Energy expenditure while walking is roughly as follows (60 minutes of walking for men weighing 80 kg and for women weighing 65 kg):
- Regular walking pace (4 km/h): women about 195 kcal, men about 240 kcal
- Brisk walking pace (7 km/h): women about 325 kcal, men about 400 kcal
How many calories you actually burn depends on many factors including pace, distance, terrain, and your current weight.
3. Walking will help strengthen and shape the leg muscles
To push yourself even harder and build strength, choose uneven terrain, or if you are walking on a treadmill, add an incline. Ignore elevators and escalators and run up every flight of stairs with gusto.
Benefits of Cycling – Why Cycle?
Cycling is a healthy, low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Riding a bike is a fun, accessible, and environmentally-friendly mode of transport.
Cycling to work is one of the best ways to combine regular physical activity within your daily routine. In addition, the bicycle will be a great companion on family trips and during sports training. There are also many health benefits to having a regular cycling routine.
Health Benefits of Regular Cycling
Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that it exercises your heart, blood vessels, lungs, and legs. You will respire more deeply, perspire more, and your body temperature will increase slightly, which will improve your overall condition. You can adapt the level of difficulty to your abilities and mood. Health benefits of cycling will appear regardless of whether you are covering thousands of kilometres or simply riding to the store and back home.
Increased Muscle Strength and Flexibility
Cycling has a beneficial effect on the activity of the muscles, which work harmoniously and efficiently. Even if your goal is not to gain a lot of muscle mass, cycling strengthens several muscles in addition to the legs (front of the thighs, calves) and the arms, which do not move, but the muscles in them work (mainly biceps and triceps). Cycling also strengthens the deep stabilization system, i.e., the core, which keeps the body in the right position while riding.
Healthier Heart and Blood Vessels
Cycling uses large muscle groups in your legs and increases your heart rate, which improves cardiovascular fitness. It helps to reduce the risk of developing serious diseases of the heart and blood vessels; supports the elasticity and patency of blood vessels; and strengthens the heart muscles. Cycling improves blood circulation throughout the body and helps to counteract high blood pressure.
During a moderate cycle, the heart beats faster than usual. If you cycle 48 kilometres per week, it can cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer by around half. This is according to a study by the University of Glasgow, in which more than 260,000 people participated. Compared to those who drove to work, cyclists had:
- 41% lower risk of premature death,
- 46% lower risk of heart and vascular diseases,
- 45% lower risk of cancer.
Environmental Costs Between Driving and Walking/Cycling
Vehicles such as cars, vans, and trucks are one of the main air polluters. They produce about one-third of the world’s air pollution. Most of the smog you see and other toxins you smell are emitted by vehicles. Polluted air is damaging to our lungs; also, it is bad for the environment, damaging plants, animals, and their ecosystems. With the constant global demand for automobile manufacturing, more health issues are likely to appear on the horizon.
By choosing to walk or cycle whenever possible, you are opting for a greener, healthier lifestyle.
Bicycling is the best eco-friendly option for transportation. It is cost-effective and more practical compared to other, non-emissive forms of transport. Bicycling releases no carbon emissions; no insurance needs to be paid for them; also, using a bicycle incurs no parking costs and is easily maintained.
Whether you live in a rural or urban area, walking is one of the best ways to go from one place to another. This is applicable when your house, job, grocery stores, and other necessity shops are within a few kilometres away. Walking not only saves money: it benefits the environment and your overall health as well.
If you have already decided on ecological travel and you enjoy cycling, I would definitely recommend joining a cycling club.
Joining a club is a fantastic way to get the most out of your cycling. Whether you are a seasoned racer or a complete beginner, there is nothing better than riding with like-minded cyclists to develop your skills and challenge yourself.
For cycling clubs located in Ireland and the UK you can check out:
About the Author
Sarah Gáliková is a Slovak girl with a passion for writing interesting articles and photography. She studied Economics and business, however her true affection is the english language. Sarah’s free time mostly consists of nature, great books and a camera.
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