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It’s as Easy as Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

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Did you know that walking for just one minute can extend your life by one and a half to two minutes? That’s according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Got 20 to 25 minutes a week? You can extend your life by years. You can even cut your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by half. Just by walking; and if you walk 20 minutes a day, you’ll burn off seven pounds of body fat per year.

Walking is a low-impact, inexpensive exercise that has a number of health benefits. All you have to do is put on a pair of good walking shoes (good inner cushioning, light weight, flexible sole), find a safe place to walk, and get moving.

The benefits of walking go far beyond weight loss. Cardiovascular health can improve, too.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Binghamton found that moderately intensive walking improves cardiovascular risk factors in the short term. The researchers tracked a test group’s walking and physical responses over a 10-week period. They measured the participants at the five-week point and then asked them to increase their efforts by 10 percent over the following five weeks. At 10 weeks, the researchers noted positive changes in cardiovascular health.

“We know walking is an excellent form of exercise, but research has been mixed on how successful a walking program can be in changing biological markers such as cholesterol, weight, blood pressure,” said Pamela Stewart Fahs, associate dean and professor at the Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing, in a recent report published at ScienceDaily.com.

Besides weight loss, physical benefits of walking at a moderate pace (about three miles per hour) include:
• Decreased cholesterol
• Lower blood pressure
• Decreased cancer risk
• Reduced mental decline, including dementia
• Lowered chance of heart disease
• Improved joint function
• Stronger bones
• Reduced risk for diabetes
• Energy boost

Reaping the benefits of walking doesn’t have to take a lot of time. While most experts recommend walking 30 minutes a day five days a week, if you don’t have time for that then any little bit of walking helps. The benefits of walking can shine through with as little as 10 minutes of walking a day.

So, get up and go for a walk! You can go alone, if you have a safe place to do it, but it’s more fun if you find a two-legged or four-legged friend to join you. Best of all, the benefits of walking extend way beyond getting some fresh air and sunshine.

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