To Your Health: 5 reasons you should be walking your way to health

walkingGetting heart-healthy exercise doesn’t have to mean huffing and puffing your way through a 30-minute jog.

If you’re not a fan of intense exercise, why not try walking for health?

Scores of studies have shown that walking at a casual to brisk pace 30 minutes a day cuts the risk of cardiovascular disease, improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and reduces your risk of cancer and other diseases. A recent study found walking just a mile a day can cut your risk chances of dying of prostate or breast cancer by as much as 40%.

Need more convincing that walking has big benefits? Step right up:

1. Walking reduces stress and can increase productivity. A recent study even found that walking can boost creativity. When people walk, according to the study, their creative output increases by an average of 60 percent.

2. A walking program can help you lose weight. Walking, of course, doesn’t burn as calories per minutes as running. But walking can be part of an effective weight loss program. Before starting out, set realistic goals and talk to your doctor about what level of activity is right for you.

3. People are more likely to stick with walking as exercise than they are to other workout regiments. This shouldn’t come as a total surprise. Some workouts are, well, a drag.

Walking, on the other hand, can feel more like a chance to clear your head than a way to burn calories. You can also use walking to chat with your friends, take in new scenery, or enjoy that audiobook you haven’t had a chance to listen to yet.

4. Walking can be done in small increments — 10- to 15-minute chunks throughout the day. Strive to get in at least 30 minutes of brisk walking a day.

5. Walking is something people of all different activity levels can participate in. You can walk with the whole family — try an after-dinner walk — or invite a neighbor or friend. And, of course, your dog always appreciates a good walk.

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