You can get active in lots of ways, but walking is one of the easiest steps you can take to improve your health.
It’s also one of the safest, least expensive and most sustainable forms of exercise.
For such a simple activity, it has so many benefits! Research has shown that walking at least 30 minutes a day can help you:
- Reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
- Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
- Prevent weight gain and lower the risk of obesity.
- Improve your mental well-being.
- Increase your energy and stamina.
- Reduce your risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer and colon cancer.
For every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy for some people may increase by two hours. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
Maybe you haven’t been active for a while. No problem. Just get started, even if it’s only a few minutes a day at first.
Set a reachable goal just for today. Then you can work toward your overall goal of 30 minutes a day as you get in better shape. Gradually increase your time or distance each week.
If it’s easier on your body and your schedule, you can split up your walks into 10 or 15 minutes each. Every step counts!
Even if you’re already active, here are some ways you can add more steps into your day:
- Take the dog out for a walk.
- Take the kids to the park or playground.
- Window shop at the mall or downtown.
- Walk to a nearby restaurant for lunch instead of driving.
- Catch up with a friend by walking around the block while you chat on the phone.
All you have to do is lace up with a comfortable pair of shoes and walk.
Step up your game! Once your stamina increases, commit to adding two 30-minute walks into your weekly routine:
- Park and walk. How many times have you circled the parking lot to find “the” spot? Spare yourself the stress and gain more energy by parking farther away (or even in a remote lot) and walking the rest of the way to your destination.
- Get active at work. Many adults spend the majority of their day at work. Add some physical activity to your work day by taking 5 minute walking breaks throughout the day, scheduling walking meetings when possible, or walking to a nearby restaurant for lunch instead of driving.
- Take the stairs. The elevator may go up, but it doesn’t make your heart rate climb. Take the stairs instead. You may huff and puff at first, but over time, your body will thank you.
- Go mobile. Catching up on phone calls? Talk while you walk – in your neighborhood, on a treadmill or around your workplace.
- Pick up the pace. When walking, increase your speed from leisurely to brisk or choose a route with more hills or inclines. You’ll get a better workout in the same amount of time.
If you’re looking for people to hang out with, my local club may be for you. We hike, bike & jog around town – and we grab a cuppa joe or a bite to eat while we’re at it. Living that active lifestyle is way more fun when you do things with friends! Learn more about the Actively Social Club.