To get the rewards of exercise on your health, you don’t necessarily need to finish a marathon or a strenuous CrossFit programme. Walking is actually one of the greatest, most enduring, and most efficient forms of exercise to maintain mental and physical health over the course of a person’s lifetime, according to a growing body of scientific studies. It’s understandable why walking took the top spot in our list of the five healthiest exercises.
The advantages start to accrue after just two minutes. That’s true, a little stroll of two to five minutes can lower blood sugar levels after a meal, per a meta-analysis published in the journal Sports Medicine back in February 2022.
“Blood glucose, or blood sugar, provides energy to your body’s cells, tissues and organs to help them function properly. When blood sugar levels drop too low, your energy level dips too. You may feel tired, shaky, irritable or lightheaded. But a sustained high blood sugar level can also zap energy; chronic fatigue can be a symptom of insulin resistance,” says Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., M.A., RD, CSSD, a board-certified sports dietitian in private practice in Los Angeles, who works with athletes privately and has consulted for five pro sports teams.
Although it’s common for blood sugar levels to vary, most people feel best energised when their blood sugar levels are more stable and within a healthy range, which is neither too low nor too high. You can find the sweet spot with the help of this simple seven-day walking schedule.
“Since the strolls are broken up into shorter segments, starting at just five minutes, this week of walking workouts is ideal if you’re just getting started with exercise,” adds Michele Canon, a NASM-certified personal trainer, in California.
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