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March 2019

Get Stepping, Get Healthy

Walking is one of the simplest ways people can start down a path toward better health. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. But the benefits from walking don’t mean you need to spend hours doing it every time. Going for walks for just a few minutes multiple times a week can help you improve your health.

Two women taking a walk in the woods

Many people already participate in walking every day. In fact, it’s the most popular form of physical activity among U.S. adults.

Your strides add up

The benefits of walking include:

  • A lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure

  • Better mood

  • Burning more calories

  • Stronger bones and muscles

That’s not all—research suggests that exercise may help keep your brain healthy and could stave off illnesses such as dementia.

Step up for better health

Joining the many Americans already walking is a great first step for 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 for just days a week at first. Start with 5 to 10 minutes. Increase the length of your walks over time.

  • Use correct 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 40 and have been inactive, or have health problems such as heart disease or diabetes.

 

    

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Kenneth Mukamal, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/11/2019
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