Healthy Living : Start A Walking Program

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Walking is a low-impact aerobic exercise and has many benefits. Starting a walking program is an easy way to include exercise as part of your routine.  Walking is effective for the beginner and for the more advanced. All you need to get started is a comfortable pair of gym shoes and a pedometer.
According to the Mayo Clinic, walking provides the following benefits:
• Lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol)
• Raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol)
• Lowers your blood pressure
• Reduces your risk of or manages type 2 diabetes
• Manages your weight
• Improves your mood
• Helps with staying strong and fit
If you are walking to lose weight, a brisk 60-minute walk (ideally, about four-five miles) should burn approximately 500 calories. A popular walking strategy is to wear a pedometer throughout the day to ensure you’ll log 10,000 steps. You can achieve this by taking a  30-minute walk during your lunch hour and replacing the elevator with the stairs when you can. Because 10,000 steps is close to five miles per day, you will be able to see how a walking program can get you fit.
Not sure about your fitness level? There are many good Web sites that have free tools and information to help you get started. One of our favorites is the My Start Walking Plan from the American Heart Association’s Web site. You can sign up and take a quiz to get your personalized walking plan. As always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

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