The first Wednesday of April marks National Walking Day. Every April, the National Heart Association celebrates physical activity and encourages all Americans to commit to being more active on a regular basis. Committing to walk at least 30 minutes a day is an easy way to increase daily exercise and stay healthy.* Statistics show that individuals are more likely to stick to walking than any other exercise regimen. Here are some easy ways to incorporate walking into your day.
- Buy comfortable walking shoes: This is the first place to start because, without good shoes, your feet may start hurting, which can make you feel discouraged. Invest in your health with a good pair of walking shoes.
- Take the dog out for a stroll: Dogs need exercise, too. Take your dog walking most days of the week so your furry friend can also get plenty of exercise.
- Spend quality time with friends or family at the park: Opt for some time outside this Spring. Ask coworkers or friends to join you for a stroll and lunch to a nearby park, or take the family for a walk on your local trail.
- Window shopping: A fun alternative when weather is too cold, try going with friends to your local mall for 30 minutes of window shopping. You’ll be surprised how fast time flies.
- Carry Shopping Bags in One at a Time: If that window shopping we mentioned above turns into real shopping, be sure to bring your bags in multiple trips. It’s an easy way to gain more steps.
- Walk and Talk: Instead of sitting down and taking that phone call, try walking while you talk.
- Park farther from the entrance to your workplace: As tempting as that nearby parking space may be, try parking farther away from your workplace. Those extra steps accumulate quickly.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator: This is a quick way to get some brisk cardio into your day. Stair climbing, on average, burns more calories than jogging. Try taking the stairs at least once a day.
The Health Benefits of Walking
There are numerous health benefits associated with walking. Because you are carrying your own bodyweight while you walk, it’s considered a weight-bearing exercise. Some benefits of walking include:
• Support for cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness*
• Heart health support
• Blood pressure regulation (within normal range)
• Increased endurance*
• Healthy weight management*
Commit to 30 Minutes a Day
To get the health benefits of walking, try to walk briskly 3 minutes on most days. A “brisk” walk means that you can still talk but not sing, as you should be exerting moderate energy. Though walking is a moderate activity that can be enjoyed by many, always consult your healthcare practitioner if you have any concerns or medical conditions.