Walking for Exercise

Walking is an exercise that can be done by almost anyone. This article describes how to start a walking program.

As you get started, remember to:

Start slow and easy

 If you’ve been inactive for a long time you will tire easily, at first it’s best to start slow and easy and go only a short distance. As your condition improves, you should gradually increase your time and pace.

How Far? …  Pick an easy first walk.

We recommend that you begin by walking for 20 minutes at least four or five times a week at a pace that feels comfortable to you. If that proves to be too tiring, or too easy, reduce or lengthen your time accordingly. After you have been walking for 20 minutes several days a week for one month, start walking 30 minutes per outing.

How Fast? … Pay no attention to how far you walk

The speed at which you walk is less important that the time you devote to it, although we recommend that you walk as briskly as your condition permits. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to begin realizing the “training effects” of sustained exercise.

 How Soon? …Increase your time

The more often you walk, the faster you will improve. Three workouts a week are considered to be a “maintenance level” of exercise. More frequent workouts are required for swift improvement.

Remember that we live in an age that requires little physical activity. The avoidance of physical effort is not a gain, it’s a loss. We should take advantage of all the small opportunities we can use to keep our bodies in shape.
The doctors recommends 30 minutes or more of physical activity on five or more days per week to improve health and fitness
Here are some suggestions to incorporate walking into your day and accumulate 30 minutes. Think about your day and how you can increase walking. 

  1. Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  2. Many people recognize the local mall as an excellent place to walk for exercise — safe, fun and climate-controlled.
  3. If you drive, park your car a block or two away from where you live, that way you have to walk to or coming back.
  4. Get off the bus before your destination (you may even save time this way).
  5. Take a walk at lunch instead of having your food delivered.
  6. Walk for errands instead of driving short distances.
  7. Get rid of your riding lawnmower!
  8. Keep your walking shoes handy. Leave a pair at your office for quick 10-minute stress-reducing walks.

Even though the first steps of any journey can be the most difficult, it helps to keep your goals foremost in your mind. So remember, once you take that first step, you’re on the way to an important destination — better health.

Benefits of walking

Walking, like other exercise, can help you achieve a number of important health benefits. It is a very good stress management technique in addition to being good exercise. If you practice active abdominal breathing during each step, you will benefit even more. Walking can help you:

  1. Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
  2. Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
  3. Lower your blood pressure
  4. Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
  5. Manage your weight
  6. Improve your mood
  7. Stay strong and fit.

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