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Fitness: Walking for Wellness


Table of Contents


Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.   Fitness: Walking for Wellness

Walking is one of the easiest ways to get the exercise you need to stay healthy.

Experts recommend at least 2½ hours of moderate activity (such as brisk walking, brisk cycling, or yard work) a week.1 It's fine to walk in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.

Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  What do you need to know to start a walking program?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Why walk for wellness?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  How can you make a walking program part of your life?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Where to go from here

What? - What is the medical information or key concepts related to the action?  What do you need to know to start a walking program?

You don't have to walk all at once. You can split it up. It's fine to walk in blocks of 10 minutes or more at a time. If you use a pedometer, you might be surprised to see how many steps you take by simply doing chores and errands or by taking walking breaks during the day.

Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition. Fitness: Using a Pedometer or Step Counter

There are many ways to walk more without going on a long walk. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, or park farther away from work or a store. Instead of e-mailing or phoning a coworker or neighbor, walk over. When you meet with someone or visit with a friend, suggest taking a walk instead of staying inside.

To get the heart-healthy benefits of walking, you need to walk briskly enough to increase your heart rate and breathing, but not so fast that you can't talk comfortably.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. You don't have to walk 2½ hours all at once. You can get the same benefits by walking in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      Experts recommend at least 2½ hours of moderate activity a week. But you don't need to do it all at once. You can walk in blocks of 10 minutes or more at a time. Or you can wear a pedometer and try to walk about 10,000 steps every day.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      Experts recommend at least 2½ hours of moderate activity a week. But you don't need to do it all at once. You can walk in blocks of 10 minutes or more at a time. Or you can wear a pedometer and try to walk about 10,000 steps every day.


Why? - Why the action is important?  Why walk for wellness?

Brisk walking is a form of aerobic exercise. This is exercise that increases your heart rate for an extended time. Aerobic exercise helps strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles. A strong heart carries more blood, along with oxygen and nutrients, to the rest of the body. Aerobic exercise also lowers blood pressure and can help you stay at a healthy weight.

Walking and other aerobic exercise also can improve your mood and energy. Regular exercise helps prevent and reduce symptoms of depression. It helps reduce symptoms of anxiety in children and teens.1

Walking also keeps your bones healthy. It is a weight-bearing activity, which means that it works the muscles and bones against gravity. This can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.

Walking, like all physical activity, burns calories. Being active is important for staying at a healthy weight.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Brisk walking increases your heart rate and strengthens your heart.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      Brisk walking increases your heart rate and strengthens your heart. A stronger heart can pump more blood, which carries more oxygen and nutrients.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      Brisk walking increases your heart rate and strengthens your heart. A stronger heart can pump more blood, which carries more oxygen and nutrients.


How? - Learn the steps involved in taking action.  How can you make a walking program part of your life?

Think of walking as an easy way to burn calories and stay fit while you go about your daily routine. You can make walking an important part of your life by getting friends and family to join you and by finding new ways to put steps in your day.

Walk with others

Add steps whenever you can

Be safe

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Using a pedometer or step counter is an easy way to motivate yourself to walk more.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      Using a pedometer or step counter can help you find out how active you are during the day. After you know your level of activity, you can set goals to increase your steps and your fitness.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      Using a pedometer or step counter can help you find out how active you are during the day. After you know your level of activity, you can set goals to increase your steps and your fitness.


Where? - Other resources and organizations that can help you take action.  Where to go from here

Now that you have read this information, you are ready to plan a walking program that suits you.

Talk with your doctor if you're worried about how brisk walking might affect your health

If you have questions about this information, print it out and take it with you when you visit your doctor.

References

Citations

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008). 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (ODPHP Publication No. U0036). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available online: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx.

Credits for Fitness: Walking for Wellness

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science
Last Revised February 19, 2013

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