Walk Your Way to Better Health
Almost all of us walk every single day, but have you considered walking to improve your health? Walking is easy to do, doesn't require any special equipment, does not harm your body and can be done anywhere in any weather. So why don't more people do it?
Walking will benefit you in many ways - both physically and mentally. Walking will reduce the risk of many problems such as coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. But more than that it will lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Now to be fair, almost any form of exercise will do these things but walking is certainly the easiest way to get those benefits. Walking doesn't require a membership to a gym, a personal trainer or anything more than a pair of tennis shoes.
Walking will help you lose weight and get in better physical shape overall. It will improve your flexibility and stamina as well. Walking is also good for our mental well being. Exercise typically boosts a person's mood and getting outside and walking is one of the best ways to get exercise. Soak in the sunshine, exercise your muscles and breathe fresh air. This all helps reduce depression and anxiety. Whenever I start to feel a bit down or anxious, getting outside for a walk helps lift my mood.
In the United States we live a very sedentary lifestyle. The experts say we should all aim for 10,000 steps a day and they highly recommend wearing a pedometer to track it. Studies have shown that people tend to walk more when they wear a pedometer and I definitely find that to be true with me. You can purchase a pedometer at most stores for around $15.
So how can you ensure you are walking enough? Even if you don't wear a pedometer there is plenty you can do to walk more. Park at the back of the parking lot rather than looking for the closest spot, take the stairs rather than the elevator, or instead of calling your coworker down the hall, get up and walk over to talk to them. I try to be a very efficient person and will frequently combine trips around the house for things. I would get more steps in if I made separate trips and need to change my thinking along these lines. If you are chatting with your friend on the phone you could walk around rather than sit down and relax.
Of course if you want to get the maximum benefit from walking you need to walk fairly fast. The faster you walk the more exercise you get and the more calories you burn so there is something to be said in this. I do typically walk very fast when I walk my dog, but when walking to get the mail, or around the store or at church I tend to saunter. While this is better than sitting still it would be more beneficial if I walked faster with more purpose regardless of where I was. To get even more benefit you can pump your arms or even try speed walking. Did you realize that is a sport?
There are so many things you can do with walking. You can take short, quick steps or long slower steps. You can walk backwards or sideways to strengthen different muscles. You can raise and lower your arms to get a better cardiovascular workout. You can also walk with higher steps to work your legs and abs more. Whatever you do, walk with good posture and this will help your body to exercise more efficiently.
So start now. Get up and get moving. Figure out a way to fit more walking into your day. It is a great exercise that is very low impact, but yet a complete workout. Walking is truly one of the best exercises you can do for your health.
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