Thirty minutes a day. That’s all it takes to improve your health, boost your mood, and break up the workday. No, this isn’t the latest fad, cleanse, or diet. This won’t set you back a dollar, can be done anywhere, and has stood the test of time. In short, walking works.
Just a half hour of low impact daily walking can positively impact your life, helping burn calories, reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and positively influence heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. That’s why, this Wednesday, April 26, Blue KC encourages everyone to take part in National Walk@Lunch Day. The annual event – a component of WalkingWorks®, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield company program developed in 2002 in partnership with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports – encourages all of us busy folks to step away from that keyboard during the lunch break, put on our walking shoes, and start improving our health, step by step.
Whether you’re new to exercise or are looking to add an active routine, a daily walk is hard to beat. Unlike running, you always keep one foot on the ground when walking, making it a low-impact, joint-friendly exercise. And while there is no wrong way to take a walk, there are some ways to maximize your time.
- Keep your head up and look forward.
- Relax your neck, shoulders, and back.
- Stand straight.
- Move your arms to increase intensity.
- Walk smoothly, rolling your foot from heel to toe.
- Keep a steady, brisk pace.
- Wear thick, comfortable socks and lightweight shoes.
- Listen to music or a podcast to help pass the time.
- Pair with a walking buddy to strengthen accountability.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends setting a goal of at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. A 30-minute walk provides numerous short and long-term health benefits to all aspects of your mind and body, including:
Walking increases blood flow to your brain, decreasing stress while releasing mood improving endorphins. Over time, this could help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Exercise like walking improves blood flow to your heart, helping it work more efficiently, while lowering the risk of long-term cardiovascular disease.
A short walk after you eat can assist digestion and reduce bloating.
Daily walks are a simple and effective way to help maintain bone health.
Your joints crave low impact movement. Walking stimulates synovial fluid that surrounds joints, providing nutrients to your essential cartilage.
Studies show that walking can lower your body weight and slim your waistline. In fact, a 30-minute walk at 3 mph burns between 100 and 175 calories.
There’s no denying the power of a good daily walk. So, tomorrow, please join Blue KC employees, along with tens of thousands of people from across the country and make your lunch a walking lunch by taking part in National Walk@Lunch Day.