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The benefits of walking

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

Walk it off

We have so many ways to get exercise these days, but one of the simplest is also one of the best! Walking has so many advantages for your health, your heart and your mind. Not convinced yet? Here we share with you some of the best benefits of walking.


Woman powerwalking

Start walking for your health

Walking is an excellent exercise for beginners and avid athletes as well. The low-impact exercise is safe, simple and gentle on your body, and can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health, according to an article posted on mayoclinic.com.

The website also lists some of the amazing things walking can do for you including:

  • lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (known as the "bad" cholesterol)
  • raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol)
  • lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk or managing type 2 diabetes
  • managing your weight
  • improving your mood and helping you become strong and fit

Walk for your heart

Walking is also good for your heart. Ladies, listen up: A Harvard study recently revealed that walking at a moderate pace of 3 miles per hour for up to three hours a week -- or 30 minutes a day -- can slash the risk of heart disease in women by as much as 40 percent! Benefits to men were comparable.

A host of benefits

The Department of Cambridge Community Development website also states that walking improves circulation, helps breathing, combats depression, boosts your immune system, and helps prevent osteoporosis.

Walking is practically a no-risk exercise. According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports website, it has the lowest rate of injury of any form of exercise. It's also free, and you can do it anywhere at anytime!

If you think that walking doesn't provide enough of a workout, consider this: One study from the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports showed that jogging a mile in 8-1/2 minutes burns just 26 more calories than walking a mile in 12 minutes. If you can increase your pace to more than 3 miles per hour (a 20-minute mile), you stand to burn an average of 66 calories per mile. Up that pace to 5 miles per hour and you can burn 124 calories per mile!

Make the most of your walk

To make the most of your walk:

  • Warm up/stretch at the beginning and the end of your routine.
  • During your walk, breathe deeply and move at a brisk clip that will cause your heart to beat faster.
  • Hold your head up, and keep your back straight and abdomen flat. Point your toes straight ahead and swing your arms back and forth at your sides.
  • Mix it up. Chose a path with some hills for an added cardio boost.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with good arch supports and uppers made of a breathable material like nylon mesh.
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