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Improving Your Health By Simply Walking

Sep 16, 2008
Walking is one of those great exercises that it's hard to find an excuse to get out of doing as most everyone can do it just about anywhere. Walking is a safe, low-impact exercise that doesn't cause excessive wear and tear on the joints the way running or jogging does, and you won't need any expensive equipment or gym memberships to get started, yet the benefits are immeasurable. And, while your dog or the neighbors might look at you a bit strange, you can even walk around the house or right in the backyard if you need to.

Getting Started

While any amount of walking is actually beneficial to the body, ultimately aim for a healthy 30 minutes per day, five days per week at a brisk pace. As always, before starting any type of health program or modification to your usual routine, it's wise to consult with your own doctor who is familiar with your current state of health and will be able to make any recommendations or suggestions.

- The Warm Up: Never underestimate the importance of warming up the muscles before exercising, even before doing a low-impact one like walking. All it takes is about five minutes of slowly walking in place and a few stretches to get the blood flowing to the muscles, limbering them up and essentially protecting them from future injury.

- The Walk: If you're just starting to walk or exercise on a regular basis, this is definitely an instance where slow and steady wins the race as you won't want to tire yourself out too soon, but instead, walk until you begin to tire, and then use that as your base figure for starting out. Two or three shorter sessions of walking per day are excellent for building up endurance, and after a few weeks, increase the length, speed, and time of your walks.

- The Home Stretch: Cooling your body down after walking is imperative to reduce the stress on your muscles, as well as the most important muscle of all, the heart. End your session by walking slowly in place, and again doing the stretches.

Charting Your Progress

Even if you aren't the type to keep a journal, make it a point to chart your walking progress so you can easily see at a glance how far you've come since you started. Use a small notebook or set up a file on your computer where you can record the date and miles or the number of steps you've walked. Either invest in an inexpensive pedometer that attaches to your waistband, or list your progress in miles or by the amount of time you've walked each day.

The Incredible Benefits of Walking

Now that you know how easy it is to get started walking, did you also know of all the incredible health benefits brought about by simply walking?

Here are just a few of those many benefits and improvements to your health you can expect after incorporating walking into your life:

- Elevated mood
- Improved quality of sleep
- Increased "good" cholesterol (HDL)
- Less chance of impotence
- Longer lifespan
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower levels of stress
- Reduced risk of breast cancer
- Reduced risk of heart attack
- Reduced risk of stroke
- Reduced risk of Type II diabetes
- Relief from back pain
- Weight control or management
- Warding off depression
About the Author
Robert L Wilson manages a regional office for a fortune 500 company and enjoys writing about fitness, self improvement and making money. To learn more, please visit his website
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