Walking is an easy exercise that requires no equipment and can be done anytime. Most people never think of it as an exercise, which is a shame because it is one of the best exercises out there.
Walking has tremendous benefits for all, whether you’re an athlete or someone who just wants to lead a healthier life. Common myths about walking paint the wrong picture and might scare people away from it.
If you don’t believe in walking yet, it may be because you harbor doubts as to its effectiveness to promote health and vitality.
Here are some commonly believed myths about walking and why you shouldn’t let them discourage you from taking a stroll.
Myth: You have to walk 10,000 steps daily!
Truth: The number of steps is not what matters, although 10,000 steps is an ambitious goal to shoot for. The most important thing is to walk regularly enough to start reaping the health benefits associated with it.
That said studies have shown that people who walk more — either for more time or take more steps per walking session — had a lower risk for diabetes and heart disease. That said, steps aren’t as important as the time spent walking. You can get a good workout by walking at a brisk pace for just 15 minutes a day.
Myth: Walking will help with losing weight
Truth: Walking can help you lose weight, but it isn’t the only solution to that problem. Obesity is a major national concern in the United States. People with degrees in Public Health, like the MPH online, devise strategies to curb obesity percentages in the population through lifestyle and dietary changes.
However, encouraging people to walk more, take stairs instead of lifts, or to engage in physical sports are some public health strategies that could lead toward a reduction in the obesity levels.
Studies show that using a combination of diet and exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. However, walking is great for burning calories.
Myth: Stretching before walking helps in injury prevention
Truth: Stretching doesn’t prevent injury; it only improves flexibility and performance. Before engaging in any activity, you should warm up for five to 10 minutes. Walking is a great warm up in and of itself.
If you want to stretch before or after your walk, make sure you do dynamic stretching of the lower legs and hips first and then perform any static stretches of the thighs and arms.
Myth: Walking is only good for your health if you do it for 30 minutes or more at a time
Truth: A generally-held belief about walking is that going on a 30-minute session will give you all the benefits that walking has to offer. What people often wrongly assume is that short walks are less effective. However, even a short walk can reduce blood pressure and increase energy levels — as long as you keep moving. Even a five-minutes’ walk is better than sitting all day.
Myth: Walking isn’t good for you if you’re overweight or out of shape
Truth: Walking can be beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels. The key is to start slow and gradually increase pace over time, until you reach a pace that feels comfortable to maintain.
Myth: You are only getting the benefits during the time spent walking
Truth: Walking has benefits that extend beyond the timeframe you are active. Walking improves circulation, which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.
And, it can even boost brainpower by improving memory and concentration. If you’re looking for an extra mental boost, try speed walking or power walking intervals to challenge yourself physically and mentally. If you walk regularly, the benefits will accumulate. The more you walk, the greater your health benefits. A moderate amount of activity can make a big difference in your health.
Myth: You should always walk on a flat surface when possible because it’s easier on your joints
Truth: Walking uphill and climbing stairs can help strengthen muscles in the legs, hips, and buttocks (gluteus maximus). Strengthening these will help in preventing falls and injuries related to poor muscle strength.
Myth: Walking outside is better for you than walking inside on a treadmill because it’s easier to breathe fresh air and get sunlight, which boosts your mood and energy levels.
Truth: Unless you have breathing problems or don’t prefer walking indoors, there’s no reason not to walk on a treadmill at home or at the gym. Some studies suggest that exercising indoors may be better because it allows you to control your environment more easily (for example, no distractions from people or pets) and also decreases the likelihood of injury from falling because there’s no uneven surface, like there would be outdoors.
Our body is designed for movement, so it is important to schedule some time out for physical activities. Walking is the perfect exercise because it’s versatile, easy to do, and has numerous health benefits. The above-mentioned myths are commonly associated with walking. The next time you hear someone regurgitating the same, you would, at least, be in a position to correct them or not let their opinions discourage you from tying your laces and taking a stroll.