Walking is a great form of exercise and is readily accessible to almost everyone. Even those who have pain or mobility issues can benefit from walking with the guidance of a trained health professional. But, how many miles of walking every day is the gold standard? And should you be counting your steps? Here is a short guide on walking yourself to wellness.
Walking every day toward your best health
The benefits of a walking program are countless, especially for those who lead more sedentary lives or are at risk for developing chronic diseases. For every step you take, you will be reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. You will also be helping to lower your cholesterol, boost your mood and improve cognitive function. If you walk with a friend, you can even increase the benefits of walking.
Get the most value out of each step
Without putting too much effort into it, the average American takes between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day, or roughly 1.5 miles of walking. In order to get the health benefits associated with walking, however, the CDC recommends about 10,000 steps or more per day. That translates to about 5 miles of walking!
Seems like a lot right? You might be wondering how in the heck you are going to get that many steps in every day with everything else you have on your to-do list. If it is easier for you to break it down into manageable chunks of time, instead of aiming for 10,000 steps, you can try to get a brisk walk for about 30 minutes per day.
And remember, you don’t have to worry about getting all your steps in at once. You can break up your walking routine even further by choosing to take a few short, brisk walks every day. Our friends in Europe have already got the idea…many people living in countries such as France and Italy take walks with family or friends after each meal. So, grab your loved ones and get moving as much as you can!
Ready to begin?
There are so many places to take a nice walk here in Hancock County, especially during the warmer months of the year. Paved trails through natural settings (like the Pennsy Trail in Greenfield!) are a lovely way to get your steps in (and easier on the joints than an unpaved trail). If you like to mix up your terrain, head to a local park like Thornwood Nature Preserve or countless other places here in our county. Indiana State Parks offer a wide variety of trails for those who want to get out and immerse themselves in nature for an extended hike.
If you prefer to keep your walks short and simple, just a few times around your neighborhood block a few times a day is a great way to get those steps in. Walking to work, the store and parking longer distances from destinations you need to drive to are other ways you can keep moving while accomplishing your to-do list.
If the weather is just not cooperating, remember you always have your local Hancock Health Wellness Centers, located in New Palestine, Greenfield and McCordsville. Grab a friend or cue up your favorite music and take to the track or treadmill to walk your way to your best summer yet!