The recent stretch of nice weather has hopefully inspired you to get outside and get moving! Many of us tend to exercise less over the cold days of winter but now would be a great time to plan your activities for the coming months.
Probably the easiest, cheapest, and most accessible type of exercise is walking. It is an activity that most anyone of any age can participate in and enjoy. Walking provides so many benefits for our bodies. It can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. It can help lower your blood pressure and help you control your type 2 diabetes. Walking can also help manage your weight and improve your mood!
The Mayo clinic shared information from The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute who developed a 12 week walking schedule that can start you on the path to better health. But before starting this walking plan, talk with your doctor if you have serious health issues, or if you’re older than age 40 and you’ve been inactive recently.
At the beginning of your walk, take about 5 minutes to warm up your muscles. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for about 5 minutes to cool down your muscles. Don’t forget to stretch! Be sure and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
There are many ways that you can work walking into your day:
- Park farther from your office
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator
- Go up or down a flight of stairs each time you go to the restroom
- Walk your dog
- Take your family to a local park
- Walk over your lunch hour with a co-worker
- When meeting friends for lunch or dinner, park farther from the restaurant
Always keep safety in mind when you walk outdoors. Walk with a friend when you can. Carry your cell phone, put your name and contact phone number in your pocket. Avoid dark and deserted areas, carry a whistle or pepper spray in case of an emergency, and don’t use a headset that might keep you from hearing traffic.
How can you add a walk to your day?
Author: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County
Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County