Posted by Liselle Johnson, N.P.
January 27, 2015
Take it one step at a time. This is good advice figuratively speaking — but also literally. I’m talking about walking. It’s a gait we often take for granted even though we do it every day. But did you know that taking a brisk walk for 20 minutes a day could help you better manage your weight and stress level?
Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. It’s one of your body’s most natural forms of exercise. It’s safe, simple and doesn’t require a lot of practice. Walking for fitness can help you achieve a number of important health benefits:
- Manage your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Manage your diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Reduce your risk of a heart attack
- Manage stress and boost your spirits
- Stay strong and active
Starting a walking program
Starting a walking program takes initiative. Sticking with it takes commitment. But when you think of the potential health benefits, it’s well worth your effort. Over time, you’ll likely feel more invigorated. Sometimes things happen to keep you from sticking to a regular walking program. Unfortunately, many people are too hard on themselves when this occurs. They might miss a few days and give up.
You don’t have to let a few days off sabotage your plan to reach a higher level of fitness and improved health. Follow these tips to get back in the game:
- Think positively. Don’t let negative self-talk get in the way of starting again.
- Re-evaluate your goals. Set realistic goals for yourself, such as 20-30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
- Get going. Build walking into your schedule today.
- Plan continually. If you’re taking a trip or working overtime, think of strategies for incorporating short walks into your day to keep your plan on track.
Even though the first steps of any journey can be the most difficult, it helps to keep your goals foremost in your mind. Once you take that first step, you’re on the way to an important destination — better health.