Make the Most Out of Walking For Better Health

By Stepy Kamei

I've been a hardcore advocate for taking walks for a while now, and it's not just because I have a dog and am essentially forced to go for walks every day. Even if you don't have a pet, walking is profoundly beneficial for your overall physical and mental health. Study after study has shown that people who go for daily walks tend to enjoy such benefits as reduced stress, better cardiovascular health, and a lower risk for developing health issues, including diabetes and depression. If you've already started up this healthy habit and you're looking for ways to supercharge your routine for more benefits, there are impactful ways to go about this in your life.

Carry a Backpack

It should make sense that walking with a backpack is a great way to increase the number of calories you burn, not to mention it'll improve cardiovascular health as well. However, you want to make sure you're using a backpack that's easily adjustable to your height and weight. Carrying a backpack which isn't properly fitted to you will only cause detrimental issues, such as pain and stiffness. Both straps should have padding for added comfort, and you should be able to utilize multiple compartments and pockets for weight distribution. Start by packing just a few items in the bag, such as a water bottle and some snacks. Over time, you can add more weight as your body becomes accustomed to the load. Just be sure to avoid going 20 percent over your total body weight. When you find the amount that works for you, you'll be toning and strengthening your muscles in a healthy manner.

Take Advantage of Natural Inclines

If you know a place with uphill paths, start following these paths more often. A natural incline will provide resistance which can strengthen your core muscles. Walking downhill on the way back can also shape your calf and leg muscles. If you live in a relatively flat area, see if you can take some stairs, or even walk through sand, for some easy resistance training. 

Find a Friend

It's much easier to work up the motivation to exercise when you know you'll have someone else alongside you. You may find it that much easier to go for longer walks when you're passing away the time chatting with a pal, as opposed to going solo and ruminating on how much longer your walk will take. Plus, you'll be much less likely to skip out on a walk, not to mention any sort of exercise routine, when you know you have someone depending on you to show up. Then again, this is why having a dog can be beneficial as well!