Walking Your Way to Better HealthPosted: Nov 19 in Activity Recommendations by Dr. Lazarus
Many people put off starting an exercise routine because they think that only intense, sweaty workouts are beneficial. But there is a lot of evidence that simply taking time each day to walk can improve your health and help you manage your weight.
Walking for Health
A number of studies have shown that daily walking can improve your health. In one study, people who walked at least 30 minutes most days had an 18% lower risk of coronary artery diseases. Post-menopausal women who walked at least a mile a day had a mortality rate that was 82% lower than non-walkers.
Walking can be an especially beneficial exercise for people who are at a higher risk of injury. It is a low-impact activity, which means less wear and tear on your joints.
Plus, walking has a minimal barrier to entry. You don’t need to take special classes or get access to a special workout space. The only equipment you need is comfortable clothes and some good athletic shoes.
Fitting Walking Into Your Life
Experts say you should get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. In one study, the authors said to aim for walking a combined two to four miles each day. To get up to that amount, fit in smaller bits where you can:
- Buy an inexpensive pedometer to gauge how much you normally walk.
- Deliberately park far from stores so you can get in more steps each day.
- If you have several errands in the same general area, walk between them instead of driving from place to place.
- Take the stairs when possible. This gives you the added benefit of working your muscles when you step up and down.
- Make it a ritual to take an evening walk with friends. If you have a good spot for watching the sunset, invite family to make this a daily event.
By adding small bits of extra steps wherever you can, you can gradually increase the amount that you walk and improve your health while you manage your weight.