Walk Your Way to a Healthier Heart
If you think exercise is useless unless it exhausts you, you're not alone. But as the American Heart Association reminds us, walking is one of the simplest types of physical activity, and it's also one of the most beneficial.
What Are The Benefits of Walking?
Adding 30 minutes of brisk walking to your schedule at least five days a week can lower your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
People who are regularly active burn more calories, helping manage weight and other heart disease risk factors. Also, those who are physically active nearly always report better moods, less stress, more energy and a better outlook on life.
How Can I Add This To My Day?
There are more opportunities than we originally realize to fit walking into our day, even if we don't have time to go to a gym. Some suggestions:
Get Off the Couch
"There's a mistaken belief that you have to go out and run a marathon or else physical activity is not worthwhile," said Timothy Church, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., an American Heart Association volunteer and director of the Laboratory of Preventive Medicine at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. "The fact is that the benefits begin the moment you get off the couch."
If 30 minutes seems like too much, start with less and gradually work your way up. Most can expect to cover 2 miles or more during 30 minutes of walking.
"It's not all or nothing," Church said. "We recommend that people get at least 150 minutes of activity a week, but even a little is better than nothing."
I'm Not Athletic. Is This Really For Me?
You don't need a serious "no pain, no gain" mentality to benefit from physical activity.
"Don't dwell on some preconceived notion you have about what physical activity is supposed to be like," Church said. "Just keep moving and focus on how much you're helping yourself."
Walking's Not My Thing. What Else Can I Do?
So many exercises exist that you can delve into! For ideas and info, contact our Lake Health Center Gym. They will be happy to help you explore the options that are best for you. The most important thing is to get moving and improve your heart health.