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5 Ways Walking Promotes A Happier, Healthier You!
Walking is one of the easiest and lowest impact forms of exercise, and can truly can be performed anywhere. Walking is free and requires no equipment. This form of exercise can be done individually, with a partner, or even a group! Learn five reasons why these simple steps go a long way in achieving optimal health!
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Even short 10-minute activity sessions can be added up over the week to reach this goal.
- Great for the heart. A regular walking program reduces risk of heart disease and stroke. It improves cholesterol by lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. If you would benefit from lowering your blood pressure or cholesterol, strive for 40-minute sessions of moderate to vigorous activity 3-4 times a week. A moderate to vigorous pace is around 4 miles per hour. If that’s too fast, find a more comfortable pace. The key is to keep moving!
- Promotes weight loss and tones muscles. A leisurely 30-minute walk can burn around 75 calories. Increase to a moderate pace for 99 calories/30 minutes or brisk page to burn 150 calories in 30 minutes. Not only does walking help burn calories, but it’s great for adding definition to the legs, glutes and core! Challenge yourself and add variety by walking hills as well as changing up the tempo/pace. Be mindful of correct posture to maximize efforts and also tone your abs/waist. Set aside a few minutes to warm up beforehand as well as stretching afterward to prevent injury.
- Increases energy. Who doesn’t need more energy?! A brisk walk boosts circulation and oxygen to the body, thereby creating a feeling of alertness. If you struggle with an afternoon/post lunch energy slump, try walking on your lunch break to avoid that mid-day energy crash.
- You'll feel happier. Not only is walking good for the body, but it’s great for the mind! Exercise releases feel-good endorphins as well as reduces stress and anxiety. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression.
- Lowers disease risk. A regular walking routine significantly decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The AHA advises that If you experience foot, knee, hip or back pain when walking, STOP and check with your doctor to find out the cause. Special exercises or better shoes may be necessary. If you have osteoarthritis and experience increased joint pain lasting an hour or two after walking, consider an alternate activity like stationery cycling or water exercise. But don’t stop exercising!
So, put on some comfortable clothes, supportive shoes, and take your first steps toward a healthier, happier you!
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