TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - With spring’s arrival and the days getting warmer and longer, people in Arizona can put on their shoes and experience the many health benefits of walking – which may be one of the simplest and best ways to exercise.
Studies have shown walking more and sitting less may help people maintain a healthier weight, ward off depression and prevent serious health issues like heart disease. And a report from Harvard Medical School concluded that walking can help curb sweet cravings, boost the immune system and ease joint pain.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help make walking more fun and effective during April and year-round.
While many people aim for achieving an aggregate number of total steps each day, research shows that moving frequently throughout the day and taking at least one brisk, 30- minute walk also can have health benefits. That’s why people should think FIT, which stands for frequency (500 steps within seven minutes six times per day), intensity (3,000 steps within 30 minutes each day) and tenacity (at least 10,000 total steps per day).
If those targets seem daunting, remember it helps to start slowly and build up over time.
Walking can also double as a chance to socialize with friends, family or coworkers. Plus, research shows there are several advantages to recruiting a workout friend, likely because that person can hold you accountable and offer support. And starting or joining a walking group at work or in your neighborhood can prove helpful, too. In fact, working out in a group lowers stress by 26 percent, compared to working out alone.
Recent studies show that people tend to overestimate how much they exercise and underestimate sedentary time. To help understand your actual activity patterns and, ideally, reinforce positive habits to support sustained change, consider using a wearable device. This increasingly popular technology has been shown to help people remain diligent in achieving those daily step goals, while encouraging seemingly small healthy habits – each day – that can eventually translate to meaningful improvements.
Throughout April, people can go to uhcwalkingmaps.com, sign the pledge to walk more and become eligible for a chance to win one of more than 100 walking-related prizes, including a trip for two to hike the Grand Canyon or Apple Watch®.