Walk for Health

Why walk? Walking can…

• Help control blood sugar. • Decrease risk for heart disease. • Help prevent osteoporosis. • Boost your immune system. • Help control weight. • Improve circulation. • Help breathing. • Combat depression. • Give you more energy. • Help manage arthritis.

When you walk

• Drink plenty of fluids. • Wear comfortable shoes. • Bend your arms and move them as you walk. • Stand straight and walk with your head up. • Remember to breathe! • Wear sunscreen.

How much do you need to walk to be healthier?

You will gain health benefits and prevent or delay chronic disease with just 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on most days. Walking briskly is considered moderate activity. Need more motivation? According to the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, walking a half hour six days a week can cut mortality from heart disease in half!

What is walking briskly?

Walking a mile in 15 minutes is walking briskly. If you can sing a song while you are walking, you need to pick up the pace. If you cannot talk while you are walking, you need to slow down.

Tips on walking

Warm up • Walk slowly for about five minutes. Then pick up your pace.

Walk tall • Head up, shoulders back and stomach in. Breathe deeply. • Focus on quicker, not longer, steps. • Wear reflective clothes or carry a light. • Walk against traffic, if walking on a road.

Cool down • Last five minutes, slow your pace. • Finish with some flexibility stretches.

Make sure your shoes fit • Try them on with the socks you will be wearing when you walk. • There should be a half inch between your longest toe and the end of your shoe. • Make sure the heel fits well and does not slip when you walk.

Stay hydrated. Summer’s heat brings the risk of dehydration. Water makes up about 60 percent of your body’s weight and is an important part of many bodily functions. Most people need 8–12 cups of water per day. Don’t forget your water bottle on your next walk!

Ways to stay on track • Walk with a friend. • Walk at the same time every day. • Reward yourself after a set number of steps or miles. • Schedule walking time in your day. • Keep a log of your steps.

How to add steps • At the store and at work, park away from the door so you have to walk to get there. • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. • Walk during your lunch hour. • Walk instead of taking the car, if possible. • Go on walks as a family outing. • Walk while you are talking on the phone. • After dinner, take a walk.

Walking burns more calories than you think. If you walk 3.5 miles per hour, you burn: • 243–258 calories in one hour, for a 140–150 pound person. • 293–312 calories in one hour, for a 170–180 pound person.

References 1. Mayo Clinic Staff. 2017. Choose the right walking shoes. Mayo Clinic. Last modified February 4. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/health-tip/art-20049202.

© 2019 by The Curators of the University of Missouri, a public corporation Strength in Numbers

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