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Walking is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to exercise. Experts agree that you should get 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity on most days of the week -- walking is one of these activities. There are also has several health benefits of walking, such as reducing your risk of certain medical conditions (such as high blood pressure and heart disease), reducing depression, and helping you sleep better.
The Benefits of Walking: An OverviewExperts agree that physical activity is one of the cornerstones for good health, and walking is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to be physically active. All you need is a good pair of shoes, and you can do it almost anywhere and at any time.
Experts also agree that all you need is 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity on most days of the week to see health benefits. Brisk walking is considered a type of moderate-level physical activity.
You can even divide the 30 minutes into shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each. For instance, use stairs instead of an elevator, get off a bus one or two stops early, or park your car at the far end of the lot at work.
If you already engage in 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity a day, you can get added benefits by doing more. Engage in a moderate-level activity for a longer period each day, or engage in a more vigorous activity.
Specific Walking BenefitsBased on research studies, walking on a regular basis has the following health benefits:
- It reduces your risk of dying from heart disease or stroke
- It lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes
- It lowers high blood pressure (hypertension)
- It protects against falling and bone fractures in older adults
- It may help protect against certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer
- It increases the number of calories your body uses, which helps to control your weight (see BMI Calculator to find your ideal weight)
- It helps control joint swelling and pain from arthritis.
Regular physical activity, such as walking, can also make you feel better, because it:
- Helps keep your bones, muscles, and joints healthy
- Reduces anxiety and depression, boosting your mood
- Helps you handle stress
- Helps you feel more energetic
- Helps you sleep better
- Improves your self-esteem
- Gives you an opportunity to socialize actively with friends and family.