Walking is natural to us and being two legged, we should enjoy it as no discomfort is involved. Walking is recommended for normal individuals as well as people with health problems. For example, arthritis is a problem concerned with the joints whose structures have been eroded due to a wide variety of reasons. The knee joint is the one most affected as the knees have to bear the entire body weight. Since walking can be painful, people tend to take rest which actually makes the arthritis worse. Doctors suggest that it is movement which keeps the arthritis from worsening.
Walking helps reduce the body weight as calories are expended while walking briskly. In fact, weight gain itself occurs because your calorie intake is not outstripped by your calorie expenditure. Since exercising requires a lot of will power, it is better to go for a brisk walk as this does not involve mental blocks. When you keep your weight down, it also helps to keep your blood cholesterol levels down, which in turn prevents the onset of heart disease. While the bad LDL cholesterol is lowered, the good HDL cholesterol is elevated. Walking regularly also boosts your immune system and your cardiac and respiratory systems toned up.
Now comes, the additional information which states that brisk walking on a regular basis can delay the onset of dementia. One of the reasons for the onset of dementia is the decrease in the brain volume with concomitant decrease in the number of the brain cells and therefore, in cognitive functions. Studies have suggested that walking regularly for twenty minutes or more helps to control the decrease in the brain volume associated with ageing.
Walking briskly tones up the cardiac system and keeps the hypertension under check. It also reduces the chances of getting a stroke. Walking strengthens the hips and tones up the thigh and calf muscles. One can introduce variation by walking uphill. You burn more calories walking uphill. Studies have also shown that fat levels in the blood are reduced when you walk uphill. It is not necessary that you should walk uphill to achieve these effects. You can do this only if you have a path which climbs. You can have the same effect by walking upstairs. Alternatively, you can get the same effect by adjusting the incline of your treadmill.