Beginning a walking routine doesn’t have to be intimidating. In fact, a small start can lead to big results.
Matt Roth, MD, family and sports medicine doctor with ProMedica Physicians explains, “We want people to work up to 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity, but even going for small walks, just to start doing something, has tremendous health benefits.”
Those benefits include preventing weight gain, reducing stroke risk and improving heart health and conditions such as diabetes and osteoarthritis, plus mental health benefits. “Walking is refreshing and revitalizes you,” says Dr. Roth.
Cardiologist Gopinath Upamaka, MD, agrees that small steps can lead to big results. Parking further away, taking the steps instead of the elevator and walking the mall can increase your steps and improve your health. And, you don’t have to do it all at once. “If you think of exercising 15-20 minutes twice a day, that’s all it takes,” he says.
Dr. Upamaka suggests a walking routine that includes a 5-minute warm up that slowly elevates your heart to a steady pace for the exercise. Then, a cool down period can help return your heart to its normal pace. You should work to progress your heart rate over time, by increasing speed or adding an incline to your walks to add intensity to your workouts.
If you’re new to a walking routine, remember to check in with your doctor before beginning any exercise program and invest in a good pair of shoes that will give you the support you need on your health journey.
Check out the infographic below to learn more about walking shoes and technique, safety tips and checking your heart rate.