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Benefits of Walking: Walk Your Way To a Better You

I have long ago passed the point in my life where I can jog. Two ACL surgeries have left my arthritic knees unable to take the impact. I don’t live anywhere near a swimming pool and I am too hyperactive to do yoga. Spin classes give me a headache just thinking about it. And because I am a work-a-holic who works out of my house, I need to get out and about for my own sanity and the sanity of my family.

I have a million excuses NOT to exercise. “I’m too busy” is my favorite. “It’s too hot outside” is my next. My most ridiculous one is “I need a new pair of walking shoes”. Considering my old ones only have 10 miles on them, I can hardly justify the expense.

The benefits of walking have long been touted by the experts. In fact, a study at the University of Tennessee found that women who walk have lower body fat than women who don’t. That should come as no surprise. Most women my age have a pesky 10 pounds they’d like to shed.

What are the other benefits of walking?

  • Reduces the risk of blood clots
  • Improves circulation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Stops the loss of bone mass
  • Leads to weight loss
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Improves sleep
  • Slows mental decline
  • Slows Alzheimer’s onset
  • Improves your balance and coordination.

Here’s the one that really cinched it for me: A research study at the University of Michigan Medical School and the Veterans Administration found that those who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties are 35% less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts.

Yikes. If I don’t exercise, I might as well start writing my eulogy. I want to make sure I am around to see my kids get married. I’d like to teach my grandkids to love books as much as I do. And I’d love to retire, choosing to do what I want each day versus having to work to pay the bills.

Okay, okay. I’m going to start out slowly … half a mile a day and work my way to two miles. I’m going to start out three days a week and work my way to four. I don’t want to fail, so I have to be realistic about my goals. I’ll never be able to exercise 7 days a week!

What’s your excuse?

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