How can walking every day improve your health?

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Answered by: Dena, An Expert in the Walking - General Category
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is by walking regularly. It only takes half an hour a day to significantly improve your health. Most experts agree that moderate physical activity such as working in your yard, riding a bicycle or taking a brisk walk for as little as 30 minutes a day is best to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If this sounds like a lot of walking at one time for you, it is just as beneficial to break your routine up into three sets of ten minutes throughout the day. As with any health and exercise regimen, always talk to your doctor about it to determine the best exercise routine for you.

It is best to start small and work your way up to a higher level of intensity. You can begin with a routine of five or ten minutes of walking a day or increasing your steps by a couple hundred a day. Then, once you are more comfortable you can increase your sessions to 15 or 20 minutes a day. Eventually, you will be able to work all the way up to 30 or more minutes of walking every day for at least five days a week.

Staying motivated is the key to any good workout. Try getting yourself a walking buddy, so when one of you wants to back out the other is there for encouragement and support. If you have a dog, you can walk it every day and you will both benefit. Some people find it helpful to use a pedometer to track their steps, making a challenge of trying to beat their most steps. This is a great idea to get your kids walking every day as well. Give each person in your family a pedometer and see who can walk the most steps per day.

There are several ways to increase the amount of walking you do each day without any major lifestyle changes. Opt to use the stairs as much as you can instead of an elevator. When you go shopping or run errands, park farther away from the entrance to gain a few steps. When getting together with friends and co-workers, suggest a trip to the local walking track.

To get the most out of walking, you need to walk at a brisk enough pace to increase you heart rate. You should be a little out of breath, but still be able to talk effortlessly. Walking is a type of aerobic exercise, which helps to strengthen your heart and lungs as well as your muscles. With a strong healthy heart, more oxygen and nutrients are carried through the blood to the entire body. Walking cannot only help you lose weight; it can lower your blood pressure as well.

It has been proven that aerobic exercise done on a regular basis reduces the risk of depression and anxiety and improves your overall mood and energy. Since walking works your bones and muscles against gravity as a weight-bearing exercise, it helps to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis. Keeping active is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and walking is a fun way to burn calories.

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