Want to live longer? Start walking

All you have to do is lace up and go. National Walking Day — April 6 — is the perfect day to start.

Did you know for every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy for some people may increase by two hours!

Wednesday, April 6, is National Walking Day. The American Heart Association is challenging us to “lace up and go” for a walk. By starting this simple healthy habit, we can improve our overall health in big ways.

The statistics are startling. About 69 percent of American adults (more than 159 million) are overweight or obese, and 30 percent report that they do not participate in leisure time physical activity.

That inactivity is leading to serious health issues, including heart disease and stroke, in one out of four American adults (about 85.6 million) — nearly one in two for African Americans.

National Walking Day is a chance to jumpstart your activity and improve those statistics, even if it is just a short walk around the block.

A daily 30-minute walk can provide significant health benefits, including:

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes 
  • Improving blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels 
  • Preventing weight gain and lowering the risk of obesity 
  • Improving mental well-being 
  • Increasing energy and stamina 
  • Reducing the risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer and colon cancer

The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. If you don’t have a solid 30 minutes to devote to a walk, break it up and go for 10-minute walks three times during your day.

It’s easier than you think to add more steps to your routine:

  • Take the dog for a walk. 
  • Take the kids to the park for 30 minutes of playtime among all of you. 
  • ark farther from the entrance to your work, the grocery store, restaurant or mall. 
  • Take the stairs, even if it is just one or two floors. 
  • Have a walking meeting with co-workers.

Commit to making a walk or other physical activity part of your daily routine starting on National Walking Day, and every day in April. See how you feel at the end of the month. The health benefits will pay off in a big way.

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