Walking: A simple, easy exercise

Monday, January 29, 2024

Want an easy way to help improve your health? Make walking part of your routine. Simply putting one foot in front of the other can have surprising health benefits.

Among its many benefits, walking can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. It can help keep your muscles and bones strong and help you maintain your sense of balance, which is especially important as you get older. And walking can produce endorphins, feel-good chemicals that can boost your mental health.

Get going

To get the most out of this easy exercise, take these steps.

1. Fit walking into your day. Adults should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as brisk walking, each week—broken down into 30 minutes a day five days per week. To reach that goal, you can start by taking three 10-minute walks three times a day. As your stamina improves, try walking longer and making it more challenging by picking up the pace and including hills. And everything counts, including walking instead of driving, whenever possible.

2. Check out your local mall. Indoor malls offer well-lit places to walk, no matter the weather. Their even surfaces can help reduce the risk of falls. Plus, malls are free of car traffic, and there's always a restroom nearby. To get started, see if your local mall offers an organized walking program. It's a fun way to make new friends.

3. Keep safety on your radar. Wherever you walk, keep these safety tips in mind:

See and be seen outside. In low-light conditions, such as dawn or dusk, wear light or bright clothing so drivers can see you. Better yet, wear reflective shoes and clothing and walk with a flashlight.

Wear supportive shoes. A running or walking shoe for proper footing can help reduce slips and falls.

Use walking paths and sidewalks. If you must walk on a road without a sidewalk, face oncoming traffic.

Be careful at crosswalks. Before crossing the street, look to the left, right and then left again—even on a one-way street, and even if you're crossing the street with the walk signal. Don't assume drivers will see you or obey a sign or signal.

Check with your Family Medicine or Internal Medicine provider if you have questions about undergoing a new exercise regimen. Call 863-680-7190 to schedule an appointment.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Highway Transportation Safety Administration


Add your comments:

Items in bold indicate required information.