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Day 13: Take a Walk

Get up and get moving! You don't need a gym to take a brisk walk and get your heart rate up. Taking a stroll can also help clear your mind and de-stress. Here are more healthful reasons to get your steps in.

  1. Your heart will heart you. A brisk walk around the block or to the park at a faster than normal pace can contribute to the American Heart Association’s recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day. Plus, according to a national study that compared 33,000 runners and 15,000 walkers, walking provided the same results as a vigorous run in terms of reduction in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and possibly even coronary heart disease based on the six year study.
  2. Relieve joint pain and arthritis symptoms. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, research on people with arthritis has shown that walking can reduce pain and ease stiffness.
  3. Reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Taking a 30-minute walk can provide a mental boost through an increase in endorphins released in the brain, which can improve overall mood and decrease stress and anxiety.
  4. Prevent bone loss / osteoporosis. Walking is a weight-bearing exercise, which is recommended to prevent or slow down bone loss in older adults. Women are at greater risk for osteoporosis, but it can affect men as they age and testosterone levels decrease. Another benefit of walking is that it can help improve balance, which lowers risk for falls, fractures and other injuries. Look for a level sidewalk or track.
  5. Prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Walking can be a life- and limb-saver for those with, or at risk for, type 2 diabetes. Stuck inside and don’t have a treadmill? No worries. There are lots of ways to step it up. Try walking around while you talk on the phone, parking further when you go to the store or work. And you don’t have to shop to walk around the mall.
  6. Enjoy some social bonding and relationship-building time. Besides the physical benefits, taking a walk with a friend, co-worker, neighbor or loved one can help you re-connect, learn something and build a better relationship with that person. Even 15-30 minutes during your lunch hour or in the evening, a few times a week, can be positive in lots of ways.
  7. Fitness or weight-loss – You don’t have to join a gym; walking is free and easy. It’s a great aerobic activity that can be enjoyed at home, at the office, in your neighborhood, at a park, the mall, at a museum, along a breezy shore, on a community hike and bike trail, at a fair- or while you’re antiquing, or sightseeing. Wherever you are, take 30 minutes for your health and take a walk, three or more times a week.
  • A bonus reason:For some extra wags, take your pup along and you’ll both have a little more pep in your step.

Ready set, go!


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