By Staff Reports
(DGIwire) — Walking is a key ingredient for optimal health and a lean physique. Walking is our most natural form of exercise and it can help you achieve a number of important health benefits.
Benefits of walking:
- Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
- Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your memory
- Improve your mood
- Stay strong and fit
- Increase your lifespan
- Increase your bone density
- Reduce your risk of stroke
- Improve your sleep
To reap these benefits, all it takes is a regular walking routine. Walking is simple. Comfortable clothing and footwear are all that is needed. Strenuous exercise is not needed or desirable. Research shows that regular, brisk walking provides the same health benefits as more vigorous exercise, such as jogging. Long unrushed walks are a wonderful stress reducer and can be very relaxing.
If you’re in decent shape and have been doing some regular walking, just keep doing what you’re doing and look for more opportunities to get some extra daily steps in. If you are currently inactive or out of shape, start slow and easy by walking only as fast or as far as you feel comfortable. Even if you can only walk for a short distance or time, don’t worry, that is your starting point. You should begin with short daily sessions of just 5 to 10 minutes and slowly build up. Over time you can gradually work your way up to 30 to 60 minutes of walking most days each week. Studies show that doing multiple shorter walks during the day are just as beneficial as one longer walk so do not let time constraints hold you back. Work on fitting in more walking wherever you can.
“Walking at a moderate pace is the ideal fat burning activity. Sitting or little movement is not enough to access your excess body fat stores and working too hard will result in use of lean body mass for energy instead of fat. You should not be breathing too heavy to carry on a conversation and unless it is hot and humid, you should barely break a sweat,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged.
Look for fun places to walk, explore your neighborhood, visit local parks and walking trails and find some hiking trails when your fitness level increases.
Griesel adds, “An inexpensive pedometer will keep track of your daily distance and total number of steps. Using this tool alone has been shown to increase the total number of daily steps by over 2000. Even when not on planned walks, every additional step counts. Set some goals. If you can work your way up to 10,000 daily steps, you will be reaping maximum benefits without ever stepping into a gym or on to a treadmill or exercise bike.”
What are you waiting for? Lace up your shoes and get out there!