Today is National Walk @ Lunch Day, so we hope you can get outside of the office and help us celebrate! It’s one of the easiest and most effective forms of exercise.

Medical research shows that people who use walking as a fitness program can have a positive influence on many chronic conditions and diseases, including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke
  • Breast and colon cancer
  • Gallstones

Walking also reduces stress and anxiety, and helps lower blood pressure.

You don’t have to be a “power walker” to receive the health benefits of walking. Rather, it is best to find a comfortable, rhythmic pace that you can maintain throughout your walk. Here are some tips to consider when developing your walking program.

  • Create walking routes. Make it scenic so you won’t get bored, and consider the terrain. Develop several routes for both variety and safety.
  • Set goals. Begin by trying to comfortably walk one mile in 15 minutes, then work toward two miles in 30 minutes and three miles in 45 minutes.
  • Proper posture. Good posture will help you decrease fatigue and help prevent injuries. For best results, make sure your shoulders are square, head is erect, eyes look forward; elbows back and close to the body; back straight; and stomach and buttocks tucked in.
  • Safety. Remain alert to your surroundings, and avoid overgrown, poorly lit or deserted places. Carry an ID and cell phone, or change to make a call. If possible, walk with a companion or a large dog. Wear reflective clothing at night.
  • Talk with your doctor. If you have a chronic health condition or haven’t seen a health care provider recently, you might want to check with him or her before starting any new exercise program.

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