Get steppin’ toward better health

7 benefits of walking every day

7 benefits of walking every day

Are you ready to start feeling better and living healthier? Get steppin’! Walking is good for your overall health — mind, body and spirit. Here are seven reasons why you should add a walk to your daily routine:

  1.  It’s good for your heart. Strengthen your heart and reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke when you lace up your sneakers and go for a walk.

“Any activity that gradually gets your heart rate up and gets your blood pumping is good for heart health,” said Janice Roach, APRN, nurse practitioner with Norton Healthcare Prevention & Wellness.

Walking has been shown to improve circulation and lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. It also keeps your blood pressure in check.

  1. It provides protection from chronic diseases. An exercise routine that includes a daily walk can decrease your risk for developing many chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, asthma and some cancers.
  2. It strengthens your mind. Taking care of your mind is important at any age. According to Roach, regular brisk walk can slow down faltering mental skills that old age often brings.
  3. … and your bones. “[Walking] stimulates and strengthens bones, increasing their density, which is really important, especially for women,” Roach said. Walking can even help maintain joint health, which may prevent conditions such as arthritis.
  4. It can help you lose weight. To lose weight, you need to expend more calories than you take in. This means incorporating daily exercise along with healthy eating habits into your regular routine, and walking can be a great way to burn calories. According to Roach, a brisk 30-minute walk can burn up to 200 calories.

Adding exercise to your daily routine can also give your metabolism a boost.

“Walking increases and tones muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn — even at rest,” she said.

  1. It’s a natural energy booster. Exercise can boost circulation and increase oxygen supply to your cells, helping you to feel more alert and alive. Take a walk around the block when you need a quick boost of energy.
  2. It can change your mood. Regular exercise, such as daily walks, can release endorphins into your bloodstream, which help to reduce stress and anxiety. It also releases natural pain-killing endorphins, which can lighten your mood.

Adding short walks to your daily routine can be easier than you think.

  • Take a stroll after every meal for needed bursts of energy. According to Roach, studies have shown that three 15-minute post-meal walks were more effective at regulating blood sugar levels than a single 45-minute walk at the start or end of the day.
  • Grab the leash and walk your dog at least twice a day.
  • Make walking a family activity! Take your kids along for a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Park farther away when you go to a shopping center.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you are at work.

Get off on the right foot at Norton Healthcare’s Get Healthy Walking Club Expo on Saturday, July 11, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Louisville Zoo. The expo will feature free health screenings, adult healthy living activities as well as fun family events. The event is free to Get Healthy Walking Club members (a free club) and their children. Registration is required. Visit NortonHealthcare.com/WalkingClub to register. 


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