Thanks to technological advances most people skip walking in their everyday lives. Even though most people see running and aerobic exercise as the ideal for healthy exercise, walking, and moderate exercise are also crucial for your health. According to Harvard Health, “benefits of physical activity depend on three elements: the intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise.” Even though you would need to walk 5 days a week at 30-minute intervals compared to the 3 days a week for 20 minutes when you factor in the change of clothing, shoes, and time it takes to recover from running injuries, walking seems like a breeze.
Walking is beneficial to reducing your “risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol…and possibly coronary heart disease” (American Heart Association, “Walk, Don’t Run, Your Way to a Healthy Heart”). In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, it can “also help protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, [and] colon cancer”(Harvard Men’s Health Watch,“Walking: Your steps to health”). If you want to up the ante of each step, taking a flight of stairs at a steady pace can help burn calories faster.
For long-term success, you need to set yourself up for success from the beginning and stay motivated. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you “Start with a simple goal…when your 10-minute walk becomes a habit, set a new goal” and “Find specific times for walks.” They also suggest that if you want to make your walks more amusing to invite a friend or listen to music. Make sure your walking routine has some variety – “If you walk outdoors, plan several different routes for variety” (Mayo Clinic Staff, “Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health”).
For More Information
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health”. Mayo Clinic, March 19, 2016, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261. Accessed 3 March 2017.
“Walk, Don’t Run, Your Way to a Healthy Heart”. American Heart Association, March 2014. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/Walk-Dont-Run-Your-Way-to-a-Healthy-Heart_UCM_452926_Article.jsp#.WLm1lfnytPY Accessed 3 March 2017.
“Walking: Your steps to health”. Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Aug. 2009. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Walking-Your-steps-to-health. Accessed 3 March 2017.