Are you looking to live a more active lifestyle? Don’t overlook the benefits of walking.
An increasing number of Americans are traveling toward good health the simple way: They’re walking. A new report by the CDC found encouraging news. More than six in 10 U.S. adults walked for transportation or leisure.
You Walk, You Win
The people who hoofed it were almost three times more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. In return, they receive such benefits as:
- A trimmer waistline
- Lower cholesterol and blood sugar
- Better mood and lower risk for depression
- A reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers
And exercise is one of the most promising strategies for keeping your mind sharp and preventing dementia.
You don’t have to hit the gym to earn these perks. Even light physical activity like easy walking improves health and well-being among older adults, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Stride briskly and you’ll accrue even more benefits.
Blazing the Path
Plan your new walking program by asking yourself the following questions:
- How will you walk? Use proper form. Keep your chin up and your shoulders slightly back. Point your toes forward. Let your arms swing naturally.
- Where will you walk? You can stroll to a place, such as a store or work. Or look for a path near your home or office. For extra safety, walk with a group and stay aware of your surroundings.
- When will you walk? Aim to walk every day. But if you can’t, walk at least three days a week. Start with five to 10 minutes. Increase the length of your walks over time.
Be sure to stay well hydrated. Drink water before, during, and after exercise. Water is the best choice to replenish fluids for most people, but sports drinks can also help replenish lost electrolytes during high-intensity exercise.
There’s a reason walking is the most popular form of exercise. Almost anyone can do it. But if you’re an older adult or have health problems, check with your doctor before starting a new program.
Want to know how many steps you take? A pedometer can track your steps for you and help you know if you’re meeting your goals. View Rite Aid’s pedometers and fitness monitors today.
“Aging changes in the nervous system.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004023.htm.
“Dementia: Hope Through Research.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dementias/detail_dementia.htm.
“More People Walk to Better Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/Walking/index.html.
“Objective Light-Intensity Physical Activity Associations With Rated Health in Older Adults.” M.P. Buman et al. American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 172, no. 10, pp. 1155-65, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20843864.
“Physical Activity and Cognition in Women With Vascular Conditions.” M. Vercambre et al. Archives of Internal Medicine. Vol. 171, no. 14, pp. 1244-50, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153432/.
“Vital Signs: Walking Among Adults — United States, 2005 and 2010.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vol. 61, no. 31, pp. 595-601, www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6131a4.htm .
“Walking, A Step in the Right Direction.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/walking.htm.
“Healthy Hydration.” American Council on Exercise, www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/173/healthy-hydration/.