Walking Benefits and Guidelines
Walking is the most popular exercise in America, fitness experts say. They believe that it has the edge over aerobic exercise like running because it's a safe low-impact activity that is easy on the joints. That makes walking an excellent activity for beginners, the obese and the elderly because the risk of injury to muscles and joints is minimal.
Walking is easy, convenient and natural. The main benefit is convenience. It's an easy program to engage in because most people walk a certain distance anyway to get somewhere. Experts also believe that
Walking is probably the cheapest exercise around, experts note. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. You can walk around the block in your neighborhood or up and down the stairs at home or work.
Before starting walking or any other exercise program you should first consult with your doctor. Physicians and other health experts agree that walking 20 to 30 minutes a day just three times a week can yield enormous benefits, especially when combined with a healthy diet.
But the good news is that you don't have to do it all at once.
Studies show that breaking workouts into 10 minute segments throughout the day yields the same long-term benefits as one continuous half-hour session. In fact, one such study of men who exercised by walking briskly five days a week for 12 weeks found that those who took three 10-minute mini-walks over the course of the day experienced the same fitness gains and weight loss as those who took just one 30 minute walk a day.
The key to good fitness, experts say is to strike the right balance between overdoing it and not doing enough. For instance, if your walking for fitness you should not gasp for air, but you should breathe harder perspire more than if you were taking a leisurely stroll.
Walking Health Benefits
- Walking lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stimulates circulation and reduces the risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke.
- Walking also strengthens bones, tones muscles, fosters weight loss and helps you sleep better, research has found.
- In addition to its many physical benefits, walking is an exercise that has significant psychological effects.
- It decreases stress and tension, relieves depression and improves mood and self image.
Drink plenty of water before, during and after walking to avoid overheating. No matter what your age, walking is a good foundation for any fitness program.