Going for a walk offers a slew of health benefits

  • By Helena Oliviero The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Monday, September 3, 2012 3:58pm
  • Life

More Americans are going for a walk, a promising trend to help fight obesity and improve overall health, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said walking for as little as 10 minutes a week is a great first step toward meeting the recommended amount of 150 minutes per week of physical activity.

“Physical activity really is a wonder drug,” Frieden said. “It makes you healthier and happier; you live longer.”

Frieden listed a slew of health benefits from walking and other forms of aerobic exercise. They included lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and helping get a better night’s sleep.

Walking, he said, has a lot going for it: It doesn’t cost anything, you don’t have to join a gym and walking is something that most people are able to do their whole lives.

Here are some tips from the American Heart Association to get you out the door:

1. Get out the leash and walk your dog. It’s a great activity for both of you.

2. Take your child for a brisk walk. It’s an excellent way to get some one-on-one time. Spice up your routine by exploring new neighborhoods or turning your walk into a scavenger hunt.

3. Mall walk. Are you sweating at the idea of walking outside? Take a brisk stroll around your local mall instead. Window shop, people watch and give your heart a workout in a climate-controlled environment.

4. Walk and talk. Even if you’re glued to your phone for work calls, you don’t have to be glued to your seat. Make it a habit to talk and walk. Some workplaces have paths to make it easier to burn while you earn.

5. Park and walk. How many times have you circled the parking lot to find “the” spot? Spare yourself the stress and gain more energy by parking far away and walking farther to your destination.

6. Take the stairs. The elevator may go up, but it doesn’t make your heart rate climb. Take the stairs instead.

For more tips and ideas, go to www.start walkingnow.org.

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