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Walk, Walk, Walk!
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Let’s face it—finding time to exercise is tough. Yet exercise appears to be the magic bullet for better health. It also helps us live longer and more productive lives. Fortunately, being fit doesn’t have to mean spending long hours in the gym. It can, in fact, be as simple as walking.

Walking is the most popular fitness activity in the world, perhaps because the health benefits of simply walking are astonishing. A regular walking regime can help reduce body fat and control weight. It will also reduce stress, enhance circulation and mental alertness, and improve sleeping patterns. You can do it virtually anywhere. And all you have to buy is a good pair of shoes!

Although you may not be surprised that walking is considered a superior health habit, it may surprise you to learn just how much research has confirmed the far-reaching and diverse health benefits that regular walkers experience. Regular walking lowers your stress level and helps protect you from serious chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. In fact, recent research shows that walking daily reduces the risk of dying from major illnesses by as much as 50 to 75 percent. Some physicians and scientists even believe that walking regularly can reverse illness and aging, making the act of walking quite possibly the most underrated prescription for good health.


Not only can walking equal more vigorous forms of exercise in terms of its ability to improve your health profile, it’s easier on your body (especially your joints) than activities such as running. Here are a few tips for doing more walking:

1. Take a short walk in the morning and another at lunch time or after work. Physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day rather than all in one session.

2. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend walking. Use a pedometer if you also want to measure your distance.

3. Establish the habit of parking farther from your destination and enjoying a brisk walk to arrive there.

4. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every little bit helps.

If possessing the motivation to walk regularly is a challenge for you, try to find a responsible walking partner. Ideally this will be a person who enjoys walking and is fun and interesting to be with.

If you can’t find a partner, establish the habit of using walking time for listening to recorded books or music, or for meditating. Nurturing your mental health is another important part of overall wellness. And doing that while walking has the added benefit of clearing your mind and improving your mental outlook. No other prescription for your health is as free and easy as walking.

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By Brenda Forbes Dickerson. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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