Now that the holidays are behind us, grab a friend, even a furry friend, and go for a walk. You will feel great, have more energy and improve your overall health.
More and more people are walking as a part of a physically active lifestyle. Six in 10 adults reported walking for at least 10 minutes once a week. According to a CDC Vital Signs report, adults walking this amount of time rose from 56 percent to 62 percent over five years.
Most people are physically able to walk. For many persons with disabilities, walking or moving with assistive devices is also possible. Regular walking helps with weight control and provides many health benefits, even without weight loss. Walking is one of the best forms of physical activity and it can be done almost anywhere, anytime, and for “free.”
The generally recognized health benefits of walking regularly are far-reaching: reduced risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers. Walking improves your physical strength and endurance levels. It also strengthens your immune system to help ward off infections.
Tips for walking
Make ample preparations before you go for a walk. Always check with your health care provider before starting any type of physical activity program. The following are some tips on how you can enhance your walking experience.
The health benefits that regular walking brings will overshadow all difficulties and it is well worth your effort. It doesn’t have to be strenuous to produce results. Even walking for 30 minutes or less a day has been reported to produce measurable benefits, even among those who are least active.
Betsy Campbell, MPH, CEHRS is Senior Health Educator at Partnership HealthPlan of California, a partner of Solano Coalition for Better Health.