Take 30 minutes each day
We all want to be healthy, but we often don't want to put in the work it takes to do so. After a long day of work, exercise is often the last thing on our minds. Well good news. In order to maintain a lifestyle that promotes improved vascular health by lowering your risk for blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, you don't have to spend hours at the gym each week or run several miles a day. Briskly walking just 30 minutes a day will do the trick, according to the American Heart Institute.
A smart man once said
It was Hippocrates who said over 2,400 years ago that "Walking is man's best medicine." Hippocrates was a smart man. According to recent research, walking as little as 5-10 miles per week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by 31%. Of course, the more you walk and the brisker the pace the better.
For years, the mantra "no pain, no gain" was doctrine when it came to views on exercise. That view has softened. To be sure, a strenuous aerobic workout has its health benefits, but these also take a toll on your body and carry a risk for injury. Take running v. walking for instance. A main difference between the two in term of physical processes is that when running, you at times have both feet off the ground; whereas when walking, one foot is always firmly on the ground. This means running is a high-impact activity that will take a toll on your body over time. Incredibly, in running just one mile, a runner's leg may absorb over 100 tons of impact force. So it's not surprising that while walkers have a mere 1-5% chance of exercise-related injuries, runners have a 20-70% chance.
Find a regiment that works for you
To begin a walking regiment, you can pace yourself to work up to that 30 minute daily walk. Walk for 10 minutes the first day or two, then bump that up to 15 minutes for a few days, and so on until you hit that 30 minute goal. The key to gaining the best results from your walks is to try to work up a brisk pace. Even though you aren't running, you still need to raise your heart rate. Keeping your arms at a 90 degree angle and swinging them vigorously in cadence while you walk also helps achieve the best results.
Keep in mind that it's wise to properly stretch before any exercise, and walking is no exception. As little as 5 minutes of stretching before you begin walking proves sufficient. It's also recommended that you consult with your physician to ensure you are healthy enough before you begin any exercise regiment.
To help achieve that 30 minute a day goal, work walking into your daily activities. Take your dog for a walk or walk with the family down to the neighborhood park. Try parking farther from your workplace or shopping centers and use stairs instead of elevators whenever feasible. Purchase a pedometer to track your daily activity and create a routine to ensure that you hit your desired daily goal.
Make walking a way of life
Begin a walking regiment today and before you know it, walking will become a part of your daily routine, you'll feel healthier, and you will have more energy. You will also improve your vascular health and lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes and the complications that arise from these conditions. There aren't many exercises that can be so easily worked into your daily routine such as walking. Make it a way of life and your body and loved ones will thank you for it.