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Is walking good exercise?

It’s no secret that regularly moving our bodies is good for us. But is simply taking a walk good exercise? According to the CDC, physical activity through walking can help control our weight and reduce our risk of several health problems. 

Here are some things to know when creating a weekly walking plan, plus some tips to stay active throughout the week.

How much should I walk?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans has recommendations for adults and children to follow. Those include:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week
  • Or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity physical activity.
  • Children should be active for at least 60 minutes each day

Does that include walking? Yes! Walking is considered a physical activity and depending on the speed at which you walk, it can be included in your moderate-intensity aerobic or vigorous-intensity physical activity.

What are the health benefits of walking? 

According to a recent study from Cambridge University, going on an 11-minute brisk walk each day can help:

  • Reduce the risk of premature death by 23%
  • Reduce risk of stroke, heart disease, and some cancers

Gundersen Health System worksite wellness consultant Jessica Boland said walking can do us a lot of good.

“It can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, and can just make us feel better every day and be more productive at work or with other activities,” Boland said.

How can I start incorporating walking or other physical activities into my routine?

Boland says you can break up your weekly exercise minutes into smaller chunks. Some easy ways to break up moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity include:

  • 30 minutes of physical activity for five days each week
  • Doing an hour of exercise two days a week with one day of 30 minutes of exercise

The important thing is to find an activity and schedule you like.

“If people like to go for a walk and that’s what they’re able to do and they enjoy it, then go for a walk. If people like to use an elliptical machine or ride a bike or put on some rollerblades, that works as well,” Boland said.

Resources to help you stay active

Get more resources to help you stay physically active.

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