Looking to boost metabolism, improve heart health, and maximize energy levels?
It’s easier than you think — try walking more frequently.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health. It can boost heart rate, strengthen your heart, and improve blood circulation. Plus, walking on a regular basis can better help your lungs take in oxygen, lower blood pressure, reduce body fat, and lower cholesterol levels.
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6 Health Benefits of Walking
- Weight management. Taking a daily walk can help to successfully maintain weight.
- Disease prevention and management. People who are physically active lower their risk against chronic conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
- Improved bone and muscle strength. Weight-bearing activity such as walking can help build bone and muscle strength.
- Mood boost. Taking regular walks has added mental health benefits including lowering stress levels and decreasing depression.
- Balance and Coordination Improvements. Walking regularly can improve your mobility by building lower body strength.
- Dementia Prevention. Regular walking can reduce the risk of dementia by improving brain function.
As with any physical activity, walking faster, further, and more frequently will increase your health benefits. Always consult with your doctor before beginning a rigorous exercise plan.
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Consider these factors when you’re walking outside:
Shoes, walking poles, weights, a pedometer, clothing, sunscreen, and extra water might be a good idea for your walk.
Walking on grass, gravel, or sand burns more calories than walking on pavement. Also, these terrains help better disperse shock, making walking easier on your joints. Walking up and down hills will promote stamina and strength, as well as work different muscle groups.
Type of Walking
Increasing your pace is a great way to make your walk more challenging. You can also try swinging your arms, changing your stride, or even walking backwards (which provides an especially effective workout).
Walking More in Pittsburgh
There’s no shortage of places to walk in Pittsburgh.
Take in the view along Mount Washington’s Grandview Avenue, enjoy the leafy scenery at Schenley Park, or head to the North Shore over the Roberto Clemente Bridge. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail runs 21 miles across the city’s vast waterfronts for a more long-distance trek.
Need a little extra motivation? Ask friends and coworkers to join you on your walk. Better yet, join a walking group or club.
Walk Pittsburgh is a local program that helps you keep tabs on your walking progress. They’ll let you know how much CO2 you’re saving by trading in motorized transportation for a walk.
Just download the Walk Pittsburgh app to instantly transform your smartphone into a pedometer. Plus, the app lets you take pictures of hazardous walking conditions. You can send these photos to the Walk Pittsburgh team to help improve the city’s overall walkability.
A $21 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.8 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $500 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to UPMC.com.