Posted August 15, 2011
There is nothing like an invigorating walk to refresh your body and mind. And if you take a trek along a trail or walkway surrounded by nature, you can enjoy the beauty of trees and flowers and watch the activities of birds and animals.
For many centuries people used their feet to reach their destinations. They thought nothing of walking several miles to town, school or a neighbor’s home. Now people jump into their cars to drive a few blocks.
Do you take advantage of opportunities to do some extra walking? When you go to the store or a business with a large parking lot, do you circle around to find a close parking space? Or when you visit an upper level of a store or building, do you take the stairs or use the elevator to reach your destination?
Walking is an inexpensive form of exercise that requires little preparation, no special equipment or attire. To get started, you need comfortable clothes and a pair of shoes with proper support for your feet. If you need motivation to start a regular exercise routine, consider the following 10 ways walking can improve your health:
- Reduces heart rate
- Promotes blood circulation
- Lowers resting blood pressure
- Decreases LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol while increasing HDL (healthy) cholesterol levels
- Improves mood and feelings of well-being
- Lowers stress and helps create a positive attitude
- Helps your digestive system work effectively
- Improves bone density
- Lessens the risk of heart attack or stroke
- Helps control weight
Ever wonder how many steps are in a mile or how many extra steps you need to take each week to lose weight? Review this trivia:
- Number of steps in a mile – approximately 2,000
- Steps to take each day to lose weight – 12,000 to 15,000
- Calories burned when walking one mile – if it takes 30 minutes to walk a mile, a person weighing 150 pounds will burn about 85 calories, whereas someone weighing 200 pounds should burn 114 calories
- Steps needed to take daily to maintain weight – 11,000
Walking provides an excellent opportunity to free your mind and body of worries and concerns while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors, and it also serves as a great way to control your weight. For optimum results, take a vigorous walk for 30 minutes at least five days a week. It may be helpful to wear a pedometer to record the number of steps taken each day.
How many steps do you take each day? If you have a regular walking schedule, how far do you walk and for how many days each week? – Ken VanCleave, Ameritas Group