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Life in Motion

Walking – Good for the Heart and Mind

Health & Prevention, Sports & Exercise

How walking can be a benefit in these uncertain times

With many of us staying safe at home, it is still important to stay physically active. You don’t need access to your gym or pricey at home gym equipment. A physical activity such as walking can help improve your heart and mental health.  A short walk can help make your heart stronger as walking improves your circulation, lowers blood pressure and increases oxygen intake to your heart. Another benefit is improving your mental health. In these uncertain times it is important to take time each day for a break. Walking can be an activity that helps you to unwind from stress, improves your mood, increases your energy levels and helps you sleep better.

If you can safely go outside for a walk in your neighborhood or community keep the following in mind:

Check specific guidelines in your community when deciding where to walk

  • Know the rules for where you live. If you normally go to a walking path, hiking trail, or beach, the area may be closed.

Practice social distancing

  • Safely maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and other people. Bring a mask with you in case you find an area too crowded to maintain a 6-foot distance.

Practice good hygiene

  • Before, during, and after being outside wash your hands, and avoid touching your face.

While you walk:

  • Make sure to swing your arms, which can help increase walking speed
  • Keep your head up and look forward rather than down at your feet
  • Try to focus on your posture, avoiding rounded shoulders and leaning forward
  • After your walk, don’t forget to do some gentle stretching to avoid muscle tightness

Whether the goal of your walk is to benefit your heart or your mind, both areas can improve your health. If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

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