It is Springtime, what a great time to get out and start moving…..
We all know that physical activity and exercise have several health benefits, but did you know that brisk walking regularly can be just as beneficial to improve your overall wellbeing. It is true, any form of physical activity can make a real difference. Regardless of whether you are just getting started or are a seasoned athlete, scheduling regular physical activity in your day can be an important step to heart healthy living.
Thankfully, one of the many benefits of brisk walking is that you do not need a gym membership, you can start in your backyard or your favorite park. It is an excellent way not only to get your daily exercise, but you also get to enjoy the outdoors and making new friends. Studies have shown that fresh air, sunlight and meeting new people does wonders for mental health. I would caution you though, if you have not been physically active for a while or are worried about your health, it is important to consult your doctor prior to starting any physical activity and start slowly.
Light walking may be a great place to start, and a great habit to incorporate into your daily life. Walk with a loved one or just by yourself while listening to music or an audio book. Set yourself up for success by planning daily achievable goals and when you meet them, complement yourself on the wins.
The goal is to get you walking at a brisk pace or at moderate intensity which is aerobic exercise. When you do aerobic activities regularly over time, there are several health benefits that can be achieved as listed below
- Blood glucose (blood sugar) levels go down
- Heart health improves
- Metabolism increases
- Weight loss or maintenance becomes easier
- Balance improves
- Blood pressure decreases
- HDL (“good”) cholesterol increases
- LDL (“bad”) cholesterol decreases
- Emotional welling and mental health improves
- You feel more focused and alert
- Memory and cognition improves
If you’re still struggling with getting started or feel overwhelmed by the idea of starting something new, take heart; every change, no matter how small, makes a difference in your ability to control of your mental health and overall well being. Research has shown that losing as little as 5-10 pounds can have a significant impact on your health. The power to change is in your hands, start walking today and reap the health benefits!