Talk with the Doc

Health benefits of simply walking are many

Dr. Jim Surrell, Journal columnist

As we begin the new year, this is often a good time for all of us to consider becoming more active and to get some more exercise. Walking is always a great choice.

Walking is great for your heart, lungs, and muscle tone. Further, it can be a great way to spend some “quality time” with friends and family. Of course, we don’t have to “learn” how to start walking as we do it every day, making it perhaps our most natural form of exercise.

It is simple to do and can be done at almost any location. If the weather is a factor, such as during our winters in the Upper Peninsula, you can almost always find an indoor walking site, perhaps at a mall, at your local school, at the Northern Michigan University Superior Dome, at other college or university locations, or at other sites. Of course, you can also walk on your home treadmill or on the equipment at a local YMCA or fitness club.

No one would dispute the many health benefits of walking. Here’s just a partial list of these many walking benefits. Walking can help with blood cholesterol abnormalities because it can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol.

In addition to helping you manage your weight, walking can lower your blood pressure, is good for your mood, may help you control any Type 2 diabetes, and will help build strong muscles and bones.

Unless you have a medical condition or physical limitation not allowing you to do so, here are some simple ways to get some brief leg muscle exercise.

If you are in a location where you need to go up one floor, use the stairs instead of the elevator for a short trip up to the next floor.

Further, as your personal health status allows, don’t always park your vehicle as close as you can to your destination. It is to your physical exercise advantage to get out of your car and walk a bit further to the mall or store entrance, keeping in mind safety and weather conditions.

Often, when people try this, they like it, and the decreased paint chips and dents on your car doors may be an added bonus.

Walking truly offers many health benefits, is very inexpensive, is safe and easy to do, and can be easily tailored to fit your specific needs and time availability. There are no rules, except those guidelines you may wish to make for yourself. Try it… you’ll like it, your energy level will increase, and your mind and body will be forever grateful.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of the best-selling SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet book and his new Joke Book, entitled “Laughter Is Good Medicine.” Dr. Jim’s website is sosdietbook.com.


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