A Walk A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

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The Benefits Of Walking

BY DR. LAUREN NESBIT, ST. LUKE’S RESIDENT PHYSICIAN

The saying goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and while healthy eating habits can keep you healthy long term, so can simple exercise. Despite what late-night TV ads try to sell you, you don’t need anything more than a sturdy pair of shoes to get the benefits of exercise. Walking is one of the simplest and most attainable forms of exercise. As little as 30 minutes a day of walking can provide tremendous benefit.

The most obvious benefit of walking is for your physical health. It can help maintain a healthy weight, maintain muscle strength as we age, maintain balance, improve joint health, improve lower extremity swelling and varicose veins, and strengthen bones. Some other physical health benefits include improving blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke, reducing high blood sugars, and strengthening your immune system. Other benefits that are not physical, but are still important to your overall health, include improved mood, better concentration, better sleep and stress reduction, and walking allows time for self-care.

With the weather warming up, it is a great excuse to get some fresh air and enjoy nature with a daily walk. During the colder months, using a treadmill or walking at the warmest time of day are good options. You don’t need fancy shoes or expensive equipment to walk. The safest way to walking is on a well-maintained path, such as a sidewalk, with good lighting, and with a sturdy pair of shoes that do not hurt your feet. Take extra precautions to avoid falls if the weather is less than ideal, the path is uneven, or there is poor lighting making it hard to see.

Persons of all ages can benefit from walking, and it can be an easy part of a lifelong routine to maintain health. So, grab your faithful sneakers and enjoy that springtime air with a good walk.

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