Walking can add years to your life and life to your years – and it couldn’t be easier! You don’t need to join a health club, wear special equipment or go into training to reap the rewards.
THE CONDITIONER: Walking conditions your heart and lungs and improves your body’s ability to use oxygen more efficiently.
THE PROTECTOR: Walking helps beat other health problems too. It fights the battle of the bulge, reducing body fat and building muscle. Walking can even help people with diabetes reduce or eliminate their need for medication.
THE JOINT SAVER: Walking can burn about as many calories per mile as jogging does – but it delivers less of the jolt – so it’s much easier on your joints and muscles.
THE DE-STRESSOR: Walking is easy on your mind too – since it lessens stress and lightens depression. Beginning walkers usually report that they feel and sleep better, and that their mental outlook improves.
THE WINNER: Best of all, walking has the lowest drop out rate of any form of exercise – so you’re more likely to stick with it and get all these benefits and more, like better digestion, improved regularity and lower blood pressure.
THERE’S NOTHING TO IT: Just put on a sturdy, comfortable pair of shoes and go! Smart moves: walk to the store for the Sunday paper; park a few blocks from work or get off the bus or train one stop early and walk from there; use the stairs instead of elevators or escalators; on bad weather days, walk in a mall or on a gym treadmill.