The Benefits of Walking (Hint: It’s the Easiest Exercise)

Television “info-mercials” and countless magazines feature shapely models and beautiful celebrities running, kickboxing, climbing or stretching. We’ve all seen them unless you stay away from the “tube”, which is pretty hard to do. Yet seeing even just a few minutes of these shows you’d think that these people are doing nothing but this stuff all day long, and that if we do it too, we’ll be one of the glamorous people we see endorsing these DVDs, machines, or whatever.

The real truth is that all we really need to do is walk — at a brisk pace while enjoying our surroundings, breathing fresh air and, if we choose, spending time with a friend or family member. Would that be so much more fun?

Walking really is good for you and it’s one of the easiest and safest activities for burning calories and tuning up the cardiovascular system.

For instance, a diabetes prevention program for people who are overweight showed that walking 150 minutes a week can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by nearly 60 percent. That tells me walking is a lifesaver. Why not do it most days of the week?

One way to get motivated is to wear a pedometer, so get a good one.  There are many out there.  Omron makes several (I use an HJ-720IT) that also has software to download your walking data once a month.  It allows you to set goals, track the number of steps, miles or kilometers walked, calories burned, and it has graphs to show if you are meeting or exceeding your goal.. You can clip it to your waistband or put it in a pocket and it will count all the steps you walk, even if you’re just going to the fridge for food. The Omron will even track aerobic steps, where you are stepping at a rapid pace and continuously walking for ten minutes or longer.

A pedometer will give you a reality check about just how much your really walk during each day. You might be surprised at how little you actually move!  Set a realistic goal, but push yourself at least 20% more than you record in the first week of recording your “normal” routine.  Utilize the pedometer software to push more steps into your daily schedule in the weeks to come.  One person told me long ago that whenever

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