Every minute you walk can extend your life by 2 minutes.
Most of us can walk – from the end of the parking lot, around the mall, through the building at work, on the local high school track – but we don’t. The average American walks 1.4 miles a week. That’s barely 1,000 feet a day.
Walking is a perfect exercise. It doesn’t require special talent or equipment, it can be done at any age and doesn’t require a particular pace. The risk of injury is almost nonexistent. But few of us walk. Urban folk are thinner and walk more than rural residents. Odd? Not really.
Post-World War II suburban sprawl provided wonderful new places to live, but few communities included sidewalks, bike paths, public transportation or shopping centers that could be reached on foot. Today, you can eat, bank and pick up medicine at drive-though windows. Our lack of exercise and extra weight may be a by-product of the suburbs we’ve built. In many parts of the country, community planners are trying to reverse this trend.
Brisk walking at 3 to 4 miles per hour, or 15 to 20 minutes a mile, is a moderate-intensity activity that burns up to 100 calories a mile. Walking just 20 minutes a day can help you lose 7 pounds in a year.
– Burns calories
– Build muscles
– Builds bones
– Prevents colds
– Reduces the effects of aging
– Increases mental sharpness
– Lengthens your life
Start with a daily 10-minute walk. Begin by walking leisurely for 2 minutes to help your heart rate adjust to the activity. Pick up your pace for 6 minutes, and slow down for the last two. As you become more fit, add more time and distance, beginning and ending the walk with a moderate pace.
Walking on a treadmill is slightly different from walking outside, where there are natural ups and downs and wind resistance. Adding a 1% incline to your treadmill walk brings you close to an outdoor walk.