Fit For Life: A Healthy Lifestyle – Start Walking

More than 50% of all Americans are overweight or obese. These are conditions that contribute to the risks of chronic health conditions. These conditions include high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease. America’s increasing lack of physical activity has helped make this problem a weighty issue.

There is good news. You can start to do something to put physical activity back into your day. It can begin with something as simple as a walk around the block.

If you are looking for the gold standard of exercises walking is it. It uses nearly 200 muscles, it is safe, inexpensive and it is a fun activity that just about anyone can do.

The benefits of walking include:

* Helps you lose weight and keep the weight off
* Increases your energy level
* It is a great time to be with a companion or to be alone – your choice
* Reduce your level of stress
* Increases your cardio fitness
* Enables you to maintain your current weight
* Reduces your risk of developing serious health problems
* Allows you the opportunity to achieve a more restful sleep
* Tones your muscles
* Makes you feel great!

Tips To Get Started

Going from doing nothing to starting a walking regime can feel overwhelming. It does not need to be so if you start with some simple techniques. While they may appear basic remember that most folks simply do not participate in any of the following suggestions.

When safe and available use the stairs versus the elevator or escalator. Walking and stair climbing, a fantastic combination.

Take a walk during your lunch hour.

Make your dog happy – take Fido for a walk. No dog? Walk the neighbors dog. You’ll both benefit.

Don’t grab the best space in the parking lot, grab the one farthest from the door then walk. A side benefit of this strategy is less door dings as you will likely have plenty of room to park!

Incorporate a walk into a business discussion. Fresh air may inspire fresh ideas.

March around the room while on the phone, or a least pace.

Walk in place while you are watching TV.

Eat a healthy dinner and then skip the couch. Head out the door for a walk.

Are you a bus or subway commuter? Get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way.

Great family activity: plan a hike or physical outdoor games with your family.

Walk to consult with colleagues in the office versus calling or email.

So plan a walking schedule that includes 30-60 minutes of movement per day to achieve health benefits. Set goals, write those goals down and get moving. Start walking slowly with a 3-5 minute warm-up and then build speed and distance as you feel more comfortable. End each walking session with a 2-3 minute cool-down of slow walking. This cool down allows for your heart rate and blood pressure to gradually return to normal. After your walk is a great time to do some light stretching.

Always check with your doctor before any new physical activity program.

Get moving America – there’s no better day to start than today!