Just how simple can it be to boost your health? As simple as putting one foot in front of the other – seriously!
Walking is a fantastic way to get your heart pumping and rev up your metabolism while burning calories and working your muscles. According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, walking can help you:
- Lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL)
- Raise “good” cholesterol (HDL)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk or manage type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your mood
- Stay strong and fit
Think about it this way. If you spend most of your day seated, working at a desk, Calories Per Hour.com says a 170-pound person will burn about 116 calories per hour. If that same person spends that same hour standing, she’ll burn 154 calories. Spend that time walking at a moderate pace (3 miles per hour) and you boost your calories burned to 254!
Can’t find an hour in your busy day? Find 10 minutes. Take a lap (or two) around your workplace (indoors or out depending on the weather) after lunch. Not only will it have all of the health benefits above, you’ll feel better and be less likely to feel that post-lunch slump.
As with any exercise, it’s important to warm up. Start off at a slow walk until you feel your muscles start to feel warmer, then slowly increase your speed. Once you’re warm, pause for a few moments to stretch. Make sure you get your calves, quadriceps and hamstrings – plus any other areas you tend to tighten up. Then, get walking!
When you’re finished your walk, reduce the stress on your heart and muscles with a cool down. Take at least a few minutes to walk slowly and lower your heart rate, and then repeat your stretches.
If this is your first foray into exercise in a while, please talk to your doctor about your plans before you get started. I may know a thing or two about being healthy, but your doctor knows a great deal more about you and your health!