Physical activities like regular brisk walking and jogging may seem simple for some people, but these two cardio workouts can actually add more years to your life.
When you exercise for just 30 minutes a day within five times a week as the minimum amount of time, you will probably live longer, according to some studies.
How do brisk walking and jogging help in wellness?
Numerous studies indicate that people can benefit by simply brisk walking or jogging, especially people who are suffering from cardiovascular disease or cancer.
A study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that brisk walkers and joggers tend to live longer than people who do not perform these exercises every day .
In another study published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the researchers discovered that brisk walking or jogging for even five to ten minutes on a regular basis could significantly decrease the risk of death from all diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease .
Health benefits of brisk walking and jogging
1. Burns more calories
Brisk walking, jogging or running can contribute to staying fit by burning more calories. When you do cardio exercises like them, you burn calories from your excess weight.
Fortunately, calorie burning continues even after you stop exercising. Research shows that brisk walking or jogging can promote “afterburn,” which refers to the number of calories you burn after exercise.
Consequently, all you need to do is a brisk walk or run moderately to enjoy the benefits long after you stop exercising .
2. Enhances mood and makes you happier
When you exercise daily, you may experience the “runner’s high”, which refers to a good feeling that all runners encounter after doing the activity.
The runner’s high is often experienced by releasing feel-good hormones called endocannabinoids. Therefore, regular exercise can help protect you from depression and cope with anxiety and stress.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health indicated that only 30 minutes of running within a week for about three consecutive weeks can promote sleep quality, mood and concentration .
3. Promotes vitamin D levels
Brisk walking or jogging outdoors are great physical activities to boost the body’s vitamin D levels.
Actually, despite the sun being the number one vitamin D’s natural source, there are still numerous people who are deficient in it, particularly those from countries with no sun most of the time. In the U.S. alone, 41.6 percent of the population is deficient in vitamin D.
Becoming deficient in vitamin D can result in cardiovascular disease, bone pain, muscle weakness and a certain type of cancer. Jogging and brisk walking outside are ways to fight this.
4. Maintains eye health
In a 2013 research, it was reported that those who briskly walked or jogged an average of five miles every day had a 41 percent lower risk of cataract development and age-related vision loss or even blindness.
In an earlier study, health professionals derived a similar conclusion based on a large, long-term National Runners Health Study.
The researchers concluded that the more you walked or ran, the less likely you can be diagnosed with cataracts from the study’s six-year follow-up period.
Additionally, s study reported that cataract risk decreased significantly among men runners with high mileage.
From a follow-up research study, the researchers widened the participant pool to involve women runners, as well as regular walkers of both sexes. The risk reduction discovered is equal between men and women .
5. Keeps you stay active during elderly
Staying active during old age is a healthy practice, and brisk walking and jogging may help enhance mobility and other health parameters in older adults.
In a research study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, older adults who found a habit of brisk walking or jogging in their younger years were more mobile and independent during their old age.
6. Fights the common cold
With just a quick, 30-minute workout, you can definitely stimulate and boost a stronger immune system. Strengthening your immune system can prevent you from catching a cold.
Also, brisk walking and jogging for about 30 to 45 minutes on a daily basis can improve an individual’s immunity and help them fight off most diseases and illnesses.
7. Experience better sleep in post-menopausal women
Bettering your sleep is another wellness benefit from brisk walking and jogging, especially in post-menopausal women.
Many post-menopausal women experience hot flushes and sweat at night. Doing a brisk walk or jog may aid in bettering sleep in post-menopausal women.
8. Lowers cancer risk
You can reduce your risk of cancer by simply brisk walking and jogging. While brisk walking and jogging cannot cure cancer, these two cardio exercises can contribute to helping you prevent cancer.
Moreover, a lot of studies also suggest that running can aid in improving the quality of life while you are undergoing chemotherapy.
Why start brisk walking or jogging?
There are some motivations you can consider before you add brisk walking or jogging to your daily schedule. Some of them can be the following:
- Stay fit: beginners usually start with brisk walking and then progress to jogging and running. The transition may take a couple of months.
- General fitness: you can combine running with other forms of exercise to maximize your general fitness, like swimming or team sports.
- Weight loss: you can adjust your diet to add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, wholegrain cereals and low-fat dairy products. Also, brisk walking and jogging paired with a low intake of dietary fats, takeaway foods, soft drinks and sugar can help lose weight.
- Companionship: by brisk walking or jogging, you could establish friendships or be part of a local running club.
- Competition: if you are competitive or want a challenge, you could join jogging, or walking clubs that may offer competitive events.
General tips for beginners
1. Consult your physician
Ask your doctor for a check-up before you begin a running program. It is especially significant if you are 40 years old and above and overweight, suffers from a chronic illness or haven’t exercised in a long period of time.
2. Do a pre-exercise screening
Pre-exercise screenings can be used to determine if people have health and medical conditions that may put them at a high risk of developing a health issue while doing physical activity.
Screening can filter or become a ‘safety net’ to aid in deciding if the possible benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you.
3. Begin with brisk walking
You should aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking in a day, and allow yourself to build up a regular running for a minimum of eight to twelve weeks.
Try to increase your jogging time per session and alternate between walking and jogging.
4. Warm up, stretch and hydrate
You should ensure you warm up and stretch based on the workout you are about to do. Cooling down your body with light stretches is also important. Also, you have to drink plenty of fluids and bring a water bottle with you on your run.
5. Have rest days
Have at least two complete rest days in a week to prevent overtraining, which may potentially cause injury. Also, you should do other low-impact activities, like swimming, at least once every week.
6. Don’t run near roads
This is particularly important if you have a pre-existing condition like asthma. Vehicle exhaust fumes may increase your risk of different cardiovascular and respiratory complaints or illnesses.
7. Plan your route
You must choose flat, grassy areas and not hard or loose like sandy surfaces to lower the risk of injury.
8. Don’t do it on ‘peak hour’ periods
It is recommended not to brisk walk or jog during peak hour periods in order to lower your risk of breathing air pollution from motor vehicles.
9. Use SPF 50+ sunscreen
You should protect your skin from sun exposure when brisk walking or jogging outdoors. Also, wear an appropriate pair of running shoes.
10. Wear appropriate clothing
Wear something that wicks sweat away from the skin. You must dress your upper body in layers of clothing so that you can remove layers as required .
To keep motivated, make it a habit to brisk walk or jog. You must think of certain ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine, such as:
- Adding walking as part of your journey to work.
- Do not use your car behind for short journeys.
- Going to shops on walking.
- Going to the stairs instead of the lift or elevators.
- Walking your kids to school.
- Ask your friends to do a regular walk.
- Have a stroll with family or friends after dinner.
Listening to some music or podcast while walking can take your mind off the challenge. Also, it can get you into momentum and aid you in walking faster. You will surely be amazed at how fast the time goes when you are brisk walking to your favorite tunes.
Using a fitness app on your phone can allow you to track any details about your walk or jog, like steps, time and heart rate. In keeping things more interesting, it can provide you with goals to work towards and rewards your fitness progress.
Being a part of your walking group is a good way to begin brisk walking, and also making new friends and stay motivated.