Did you know that most physicians favor walking over running due to the fact that it is a low-impact exercise making it easier on the joints and heart? Walking has various health benefits regardless of how old or fit someone may be.
Benefits of walking.
- Improve circulation. Walking wards off heart disease and increases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens the heart.
- Longevity. Studies show that walking helps you enjoy a longer life.
- Lighten your mood. Walking to your favorite music boosts energy and can provide time to catch up on some good audiobooks or podcasts.
- Weight loss. This low-impact exercise can help you lose weight, so make it a part of your daily routine.
- Support your joints. Walking helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints.
- Cost-free. You can walk just about anywhere for free. The park, the mall, and your neighborhood.
- Quality time. Walking is great for any age, so grab the kids and your pets and spend time exercising together.
- Help a good cause. Many cities host 5K and 10K runs that raise money for nonprofit groups. Google the name of your city and 5Ks or 10Ks and you’ll likely find a list that benefits charities.
Supportive shoes are key when walking for any length of time. Although walking is low-impact, having comfortable footwear is important for preventing injury. If you are dealing with plantar fasciitis, high arches, or other issues, find a shoe specific to your needs. Runner’s World just published a list of the best walking shoes and their benefits.
Tips on how to get started.
- Walk briskly for at least 20-30 minutes/day for at least 5 days a week. If you find yourself too busy, simply split your walks into smaller bouts of time. Try taking 10-minute walks 3x/day instead.
- If you have a wearable device, start slow but aim to get at least 7,500 steps/day.
- Opt to park farther away when going shopping to increase your step count. They will quickly add up!
- Stay in motion. While watching TV, for example, get up during commercials and walk down the hall and back or climb the stairs.
- If you are like many Americans, you may be stuck working from home. Invest in a wireless headset and walk in your house during meetings.
Don’t forget to check with your physician before starting any new exercise routine. With Open Enrollment quickly approaching, you may want to schedule your annual physical and see what your plan offers.
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