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3 reasons walking improves your health

Physical activity doesn’t need to be complex.

You can live a healthier live just by incorporating a simple brisk walk into your daily routine. The benefits of physical activity depend on three elements: the intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise.

Here are 3 reasons why walking improves your health:

  1. Regular walking can help you maintain a healthy weight and help prevent or manage various conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
  2. According to the Mayo Clinic, brisk walking can also help strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your mood and improve balance and coordination.
  3. Research finds that walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31 percent.

The people who walked longer distances, walked at a faster pace, or both enjoyed the greatest protection. Because walking is less intensive than running, you have to walk for longer periods, get out more often, or both to match the benefits of running.

As a rough guide, the current American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine standards call for able-bodied adults to do moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes on five days each week or intense aerobic exercise (such as running) for at least 20 minutes three days each week.

Find ways to make walking part of your daily life. Park farther away and walk to your destination or go for a walk during lunch. Wear supportive shoes and clothing that will keep you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and dry in wet weather conditions. During inclement weather, walk down long hallways or take a slow, steady pace on the stairs.

Set a goal of two to four miles per day. Use a pedometer to help you keep track and can motivate you to take extra steps whenever you can.