I recently changed my cardio workout from running to walking and I'm a convert-you can do it anywhere, customize it to your fitness level and all it takes is a pair of sneaker (iPod optional). Plus it has some pretty impressive health, weight loss and mood benefits. Here's are a few that put a spring in my step:
It helps curb cravings: A 15-minute walk helped chocoholics stave off cocoa cravings afterward in one study, while another study found that getting up to walk around throughout the day may help keep your appetite in check and prevent munching.
It's a proven weight loss tool: Walking is the exercise of choice for members of the National Weight Control Registry, a group of adults who have, on average, lost 66 pounds and kept it off for 5.5. years.
It yields big results even in small doses: Walking just one extra mile a day can add up to nearly a 10 pound weight loss in a year. Easiest way to do it: wear a pedometer and track your steps. Walkers who did took up to 2,491 extra steps a day, or almost a mile and a quarter.
It makes you happy Research has shown that walking may decrease symptoms of depression, improve sleep, and increase insulin sensitivity as effectively (or more so) than drugs.
It's fast-acting: 10 Minutes a day is all it takes to boost your energy (and new research shows the lift lasts 12 hours).
It can turn back the clock: When 50 to 60-year-olds walked about 45 to 60 minutes a day over the course of a year, their hearts began pumping blood and nutrients as efficiently as people in their 30s and 40s. Imagine the possibilities if you're in your 30s or 40s!
It's virtually injury-proof: Research shows that walkers on average only suffer one injury for every 6.4 years of walking for exercise (or every 13 years an injury serious enough to make them take a break from walking).
Do you walk for exercise or just to get where you're going?
[photo credit: Getty Images]
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