Best Supplements for Walking, According to Dietitians
It's not just boot camps and yoga flows that count as quality exercise—walking has tons of merit, too. In fact, not walking enough can be very detrimental to your health. Studies have shown that people living in areas with limited walking spaces tend to have a higher probability of having cardiovascular diseases. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that we—you, me, everybody—start walking a lot more often, especially if you want to lose weight.
Because walking obviously engages your muscles, you need to make sure you're taking supplements that will help fuel your strolls. A healthy diet contains many of the nutrients needed, but not everyone actually eats a healthy diet, right? And where there are nutrient deficiencies, there is a reduction in the functionality of muscles. Those nutritional gaps can be filled through supplementation, which can help ensure that you continue to enjoy the benefits of walking.
Why you should consider using supplements for walking
Trista Best, RD, MPH, LD, with Balance One Supplements, says that in general, we need to have a specific supplements regimen for our health irrespective of the activities that we engage in. But we can also benefit from some specific nutrients.
"When it comes to walking it can be easy to assume that supplements aren't necessary," says Best. "This couldn't be further from the truth. Not only can the right supplement help to improve your walking endurance, but they can help prevent injuries and aches associated with this form of exercise."
That's also true even if you don't walk every day or use it as your main form of exercise.
"Individuals who experience soreness or pain after walking or those walking long distances may benefit from supplements," says Beth Chiodo, MS, RD, LDN, CHWC, founder of Nutritional Living.
Given that there are a dizzying number of supplements on store shelves, it pays to know what your criteria should be for incorporating new ones into your walking regime.
"Choose the supplement that best fits your needs whether it be to reduce inflammation, support your joints, strengthen your bones, or simply give you extra energy," says Best.
Take your first walk down the supplement aisle and look for the ones listed here. Then, be sure to check out our list of the Best Supplements To Buy at Costco, Say Experts.
"An anti-inflammatory supplement like turmeric can be beneficial for walking because it may reduce oxidative damage and overall inflammation," says Chiodo. "This may help make recovery after a walk easier."
"An Omega-3 fatty acid supplement may have a similar effect to turmeric—reducing oxidative damage," says Chiodo. "A meta-analysis showed that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids at more than 2 grams per day may contribute to muscle-mass gain and improve walking speed in older individuals."
Vitamin D is another supplement that can be beneficial for walkers and hikers. (This one is dietitian-approved.)
"Due to our sedentary lives and time spent indoors, many of us are actually deficient in Vitamin D," says Chiodo. "This vitamin is important for bone health, immune function and feelings of well-being, so a supplement may be helpful for people not getting enough naturally."
"We also know that the total health of our bodies stems from gut health and having the proper balance of good and bad bacteria in our microbiome," says Chiodo. (If you're worried your gut health isn't up to par, here are warning signs to look for).
For this reason, a probiotic supplement may be helpful. Research suggests that probiotics may support improved athletic performance as well as recovery and cognitive function in active individuals.
"We have to improve our health from the inside-out and taking probiotics is one way we can work to do that," says Chiodo.
Speaking of probiotics, here are 14 Probiotic Foods for a Healthy Gut.
"When it comes to ensuring you have optimal energy levels to keep your walking regimen going for the long-term, the first thing you should turn to is a B-complex supplement," says Best. "This group of water-soluble vitamins is known for their wide range of responsibilities and benefits in the body. Providing you with energy is the top reason most B vitamin supplement users implement them."
You can get B vitamins through food, but it's not always the easiest way. Best adds that extra B12 can help improve anyone's energy levels, but it's especially important for those with a B12 deficiency, which can also lead to a type of anemia known as pernicious anemia.
"Any form of anemia can create chronic fatigue and supplementing with this vitamin can improve energy levels," says Best.
She also says that a little-known fact about B12 is its impact on bone density, which is another important factor in walking longevity.
"Studies have found a link between B12 deficiency and bone demineralization and low bone density," she says.
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