Written collaboratively by Hope Kleine, former SDSU Extension Health Education Field Specialist, and Kylie Serie.
Did you know, according to this study, that walking is the most preferred mode of exercise by South Dakotans? Walking is inexpensive, safe, easy, and a great way to get the physical activity needed to obtain health benefits. Integrating regular walking into your routine can help decrease the risk of many chronic diseases, improve your cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, and increase your energy.
Walking not only helps you feel better physically, but also emotionally. A brisk walk, as well as other forms of physical activity, can improve your mood and help you feel better for up to several hours. Regular walking can also help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms over time.
Walking at All Stages of Life
You do not have to be a certain age or at a particular fitness level for walking to benefit you. Having a regular walking routine will show benefits during all stages of life. As an older adult, walking continues to have numerous benefits. The Arthritis Foundation lists several, which include: support to joints, an improvement to breathing, a slow in mental decline, decreased Alzheimer’s risk, among others.
Want to increase your walking? Here are some easy ways to add more steps into your day:
- Park a bit farther from the entrance to your workplace, school, grocery store, restaurants, etc.
- Catch up with a friend by walking around the block while you chat on the phone.
- Have a walking meeting with coworkers or walk with friends rather than meeting for coffee.
- Take an extra lap around the perimeter of the grocery store before checking out.
- Walk in place during television commercials.
- Set an alarm at the top of every hour as a reminder to walk around the house, even if only for a few minutes.
- Join a walking program!
Walk With Ease
SDSU Extension offers an educational 6-week walking program designed to help adults living with arthritis, joint pain, or those who want to become more active. Developed by the Arthritis Foundation, this program is aimed to help individuals start or maintain a safe walking routine. Workshops are offered either in-person or online through a self-guided format. Check out Walk With Ease for more information, and to see if there is an upcoming workshop near you!