Walking is great exercise. It is easy on your joints, it is free, and it is easy. Walking also has tremendous health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking can:
- Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
- Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your mood
- Improve your overall fitness
A healthy goal is 10,000 steps a day. Translated into distance, that is about 5 miles a day. But you don’t have to set out on long walks every day, you can pick up miles without even knowing it!
To track your steps, pick up a pedometer at any drug store or sporting goods store. (note: the cheap pedometers go click, click, click when you walk and they get annoying, so you may want to get a good one). Wear the pedometer for a few days to get an idea of how many steps you typically take, then try to increase it 500-1000 steps a day until you work up to 10,000 steps.
Whenever possible, walk. Walk the dog a little further, walk with a friend, park further from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, whenever possible walk to the bank, the post office or the coffee shop. If they are too far, drive part of the way, then walk the rest of the way. Some other ideas: when you have to take the kids to practice, use the waiting time to walk — they don’t want you watching anyway; or schedule a walking meeting rather than a lunch!