10 Reasons To Go For A Walk Right Now

On average, 30 percent of American adults walk for exercise, and with good reason. Walking doesn’t require special equipment or athletic skills and it offers multiple health benefits — from helping you lose weight and lifting your mood, to controlling diabetes and lowering your blood pressure.

Here are 10 ways to use walking to boost your health, along with tips to make starting and sticking to a walking routine more fun.

1. Walk to Manage Your Weight
Avoiding weight gain can be as simple as taking a walk. Walking for just an hour a day can help you successfully maintain your weight.

Fun fitness tip: Buddy up for fitness — walk with a friend, neighbor or a four-legged pal.

2. Walk to Get Blood Pressure in Line
A heart-pumping walking routine can help lower your blood pressure. Moderate-intensity walking is just as effective as jogging for lowering the risk of high blood pressure.

Fun fitness tip: Can’t find a full 30 minutes to walk? Spread it out throughout your day — 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there will add up if you stick with it.

3. Walk to Protect Against Dementia
Walking, which improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease, may help you stave off dementia, the cognitive loss that often comes with old age.

Fun fitness tip: Download upbeat music you love to listen to on your iPod, and take it with you while you walk. This can boost endurance and intensity.

4. Walk to Prevent Osteoarthritis
Walking is a great form of weight-bearing exercise, which helps prevent the bone-thinning condition osteoporosis, as well as osteoarthritis, the degenerative disease that causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness.

Fun fitness tip: Reward yourself. After you stick to your new walking routine for a few weeks, treat yourself to something that will keep you motivated.

5. Walk to Reduce Cancer Risk
People who  walk at least a couple hours per week reduce their risk of developing some cancers.

Fun fitness tip: Explore. Try a new route around the neighborhood or pick a different trail at the park to keep your walks interesting.

6. Walk to Prevent or Control Diabetes
Brisk walking helps prevent and manage diabetes.  A 20-minute walk can help lower blood sugar for 24 hours. Even small weight loss can delay or prevent the onset of the disease. Adding a brisk walk to your daily routine is one of the easiest ways to maintain healthy weight.

Fun fitness tip: Dress for the occasion. A good pair of walking shoes and comfortable clothes are essential for a successful workout.

7. Walk to Lower Your Heart Disease Risk
Walking may help lower your cholesterol and your risk for heart disease. Walking just 30 minutes per day can also lower your risk for stroke.

Fun fitness tip: Challenge yourself to walk more steps each day and make fitness more fun by using a tracking device to chart your progress. You can set new step goals each week to motivate yourself.

8. Walk to Improve Your Mood
A brisk walk can boost your mood and may even help you treat depression. When medication doesn’t help, walking can.

Fun fitness tip: Get outdoors! When the weather permits, take your walk outside for a dose of vitamin D and an even bigger mood boost.

9. Walk to Reduce Pain
It might seem counterintuitive, but to reduce pain from arthritis, start moving. Walking just an hour a day can help reduce arthritis pain and prevent disability.

Fun fitness tip: Add some healthy competition to your walk. As you move down the sidewalk or trail, imagine the people in front of you are rungs on a ladder. Then, focus on walking fast enough to overtake them one by one.

10. Walk to Reduce Stroke Risk
Walking at a brisk pace for exercise reduces the risk of having a stroke. Walking helps to lower high blood pressure, which is a strong risk factor for stroke.

Fun fitness tip: Join or start a regular walking club with friends or coworkers and make fun fitness plans for your outings.

Lisa Burbage

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