The Right and Healthy Way to Walk and Run

You’ve probably heard the age-old adage…Running and Walking is not only good for your health but is good for your soul too! Numerous studies have been conducted that highlight the importance of regular exercise for overall well-being. And two of the most beneficial exercises are running and walking.

Both running and walking provides numerous physical and mental health benefits. You can either run or walk every single day, or you can incorporate a walk or run every other day into your varied exercise routine. Experts suggest that brisk walking for about 30 minutes at a moderate speed every day can burn 150 to 200 calories. Additionally, a long walk or run can clear your thoughts and calm you down.

Studies have shown that regular walking and running can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and some kinds of cancer. Below are just some of the numerous benefits of running and walking.

Walking or running helps you get fit and burn more calories: While exercising burns calories when you are working out, the good news is, that the burn continues after you stop exercising. Studies have shown that walking or running boosts “afterburn,” which is the number of calories you burn after exercise. So, all you need to do is walk or run moderately briskly to enjoy the benefits long after you stop exercising.

It helps you live longer: A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that runners and brisk walkers tend to live longer than those who do not perform these exercises regularly. Another study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that running or walking for even 5 to 10 minutes a day can substantially reduce the risk of death from all diseases, including cardiovascular disease.

It improves your mood and makes you happier: If you exercise regularly, you’ve probably experienced this. A “runner’s high” is something that all runners have experienced at some time or the other. This is caused by the release of feel-good hormones called endocannabinoids. Regular exercise also protects you from depression and helps you cope with anxiety and stress. A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that just 30 minutes of running during the week for 3 weeks boosted sleep quality, mood, and concentration.

It boosts your Vitamin D levels: If you run or walk outdoors, this is an excellent way to boost your Vitamin D levels. Around 41.6 % of Americans are deficient in this vitamin. Deficiency in Vitamin D can result in cardiovascular disease, bone pain, muscle weakness, and cancer. Running and walking outdoors is one way to combat this.

It helps keep your eyes healthy: Research conducted in 2013 reported that those who walked or ran an average of 5 miles per day, had a 41% lower risk of developing cataracts and age-related vision loss or blindness.

It is good for old age: While remaining active during your old age is a good thing, running and walking also help improve mobility and other health parameters in older adults. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, those older adults who had a habit of walking or running in their youth were more mobile and independent during their old age.

It helps fight the common cold: Even a quick, 30-minute workout can stimulate and boost your immune system and prevent you from catching a cold. Also, running and walking for about 30 to 45 minutes every day can improve a person’s immunity and help them fight off most diseases and illnesses.

It improves sleep in postmenopausal women: Many post-menopausal women experience hot flushes and sweats at night. Walking and running helps these women fall asleep more easily.

It can reduce your risk of cancer: While running and walking cannot cure cancer, it can help prevent it. Studies also show that running helps improve your quality of life while you are undergoing chemotherapy.

It adds years to your life: Even if you exercise for just the minimum amount of time – 30 minutes, five times a week – you’ll probably live longer. Studies conducted show that everyone benefits from running and walking including those suffering from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

So, now you know the many benefits of running and walking. Whether you’re a beginner when it comes to running and walking or a veteran, you will need the right gear to help you walk and run in an optimal way.

Also, here are some guidelines for putting your best foot forward, whether you are walking or running;

Take time to warm up.

Maintain good posture. Keep your back straight, your head up and your eyes looking straight ahead. Hold your arms slightly away from your body—your elbows should be bent slightly so that your forearms are almost parallel to the ground.

Use the heel-to-toe method. The heel of your leading foot should touch the ground before the ball or toes of that foot do. Push off the ball of your foot, and bend your knee as you raise your heel. You should be able to feel the action in your calf muscles.

Pump your arms back and forth. This burns more calories and gives you an upper-body workout as well.

Do not walk or run on the balls of your feet. This produces soreness in the calves because the muscles must contract for a longer time. Avoid running on hard surface and making sudden stops and turns.

End your walk or run with a cool-down period. Let your pace become more leisurely for the last five minutes.

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