cut your risk of heart disease by 40 percent. Walking can also benefit those with a history of heart problems. However, it is important to†check with your doctor first†before beginning any kind of exercise program.
The easiest way to walk more is to make walking a habit. Think of ways to include walking into your daily routine. If you drive to work, park at the farthest point of the parking lot and walk the difference. If you take the bus, get off one or two stops earlier than normal. Take a 10-minute walk during your lunch break and another during your coffee break. Fit in another 10 minutes after dinner.
Be Sure To
* Get a check up before starting any new exercise program. If you already have heart problems, your doctor may want to perform tests to find out how much exercise you can safely do
* Get a good pair of walking shoes
* Start out slowly and increase gradually. At first, set a pace of about 3 miles per hour and walk for just 10 minutes
* After you have ramped up, do at least 2.5 hours of walking a week. One way to do this is to walk for 30 minutes a day five times a week. But the total number of hours can be reached in any increments convenient for you
* For motivation, walk with friends or pets
* Use a pedometer to count your steps. Wear it throughout the day and try to reach at least 2,000 steps (approximately one mile) at first. Gradually increase your number of steps by 500 per week. Ways to do this include taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or parking farther away from your destination than you normally would
If youíre regularly active, youíll burn more calories, which helps you manage your weight and other cardiovascular risk factors. Plus, physically active people nearly always report better moods, less stress, more energy and a better outlook on life.
(Author is Head Relationship Doctor, Max Bupa Health Insurance. The views expressed in this article are author's own and do not represent those of The Indian Express)