Walking is one of the simplest ways people can start down a path toward better health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours a day walking. Going for 10-minute walks multiple times a week can help you reach your health goals.
Your Strides Add Up
Research shows that people who walk regularly are nearly three times more likely to reach the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. The benefits they gain include:
- A lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers
- Better mood and lower risk of depression
- A trimmer waistline
- Lower cholesterol and blood sugar
That’s not all — consistent exercise is also believed to help keep your brain healthy and stave off illnesses such as dementia.
Step Up for Better Health
Don’t think you need a regimented exercise plan to achieve these health benefits, either. Light physical activity, such as leisurely walking, has been found to improve health and well-being among older adults.
Joining the more than 145 million Americans already walking is a great first step toward a healthy lifestyle. But as you begin this exercise journey, keep these tips in mind:
- Try to walk every day. But if you can’t, walk at least 3 days a week. Start with 5 to 10 minutes. Increase the length of your walks over time.
- Use proper form. Keep your chin up and your shoulders slightly back. Point your toes forward. Let your arms swing naturally.
- Take strides anywhere. You can stroll to a place, such as a store or to work. Or look for a path near your home or office. To keep safe, walk with a group. Stay aware of your surroundings.
Walking can be an easy exercise to do for almost anyone. But before you start a new fitness routine, talk with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough for exercise. This is especially true if you are older than age 50, smoke, or have health problems, such as heart disease or asthma.