Many people in the Greater Seattle area struggle with health problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and more. Others are at risk for diabetes or heart disease. Sometimes people feel overwhelmed with dietary changes, medications, and other means to monitor or improve their health conditions, but many don’t realize they have a useful, excellent resource to help reduce their health risks — walking!
Here are several specific ways walking can help reduce health risks:
Walking Prevents Heart Problems
Walking lowers your levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases your good cholesterol (HDL) levels. When this happens, you lower the chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference. According to the American Heart Association, regular walking lowers your risk of heart conditions just as much as jogging.
Walking Helps You Lose Weight
When it comes to losing weight, many of us think we need to lift weights, buy a treadmill, or get a gym membership. But the truth is that simply walking can also burn those pesky calories. Consistent walks, even just a half mile, can help you begin to lose weight. Some people are able to walk on lunch breaks while at work or going to and from their jobs. As long as you are consistent and fit it into your daily schedule, you can start losing weight in no time.
Walking Helps Prevent Diabetes
In addition to heart attacks and strokes, walking regularly can help prevent diseases like diabetes and obesity. In fact, walking daily can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 60 percent. Walking helps to lose excess weight, balance the body, and keep your blood and digestive system moving.
Walking Boosts Vitamin D
Grab some sunscreen and walk in the sun! Not only does a bit of sunshine make the walk more enjoyable, it also boosts the vitamin D in your system. Vitamin D can help prevent bad cholesterol and diabetes, and it also supports lung function and your immune system.
Walking Improves Your Mood
Sometimes being active outdoors is all it takes to improve your mood. Life can be stressful and distracting, and it’s worth taking a half hour a day to clear your head by walking. Exercise causes your body to produce endorphins, a chemical that contributes to positive mood. Turn off your phone, put on some comfortable shoes, and take a breather.
Get Out and Walk!
Walking is one of the best ways you and your family can get healthy this summer. This simple, seemingly minor exercise can play a big role in overall health. Bring along a friend to chat with, walk the dog, spend time with your kids—the opportunities are endless and the benefits are many. Whether it’s a couple miles on a trail or simply strolling around the block, you can increase your body’s health one step at a time.
If you’re concerned about getting injured, or if intense exercise is daunting, the good news is that walking is something almost anyone can do. Speak with your family health care provider about regular walking and any possible restrictions that may be necessary. If you need to schedule an appointment with someone on our staff, feel free to call our CHC location nearest you.