Walk your way to better health

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Commentary by Jennifer Jones, MD, IU Health Physicians Pediatrics – Zionsville

Walking is a great form of exercise and has many health benefits. It contributes to weight loss, helps lower cholesterol, increases bone strength, improves circulation and reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Walking also is a simple and fun activity for families to do together – especially during the summer months when there are more daylight hours. In fact, some people set a goal of 10,000 steps a day to help improve their health and fitness. Although taking 10,000 steps may seem like a lot, there are ways to add steps to your day just by making a few adjustments to your regular routine. Consider these ideas:

  • Go for a short walk before breakfast, after dinner or both.
  • Walk to a nearby grocery store or drug store instead of driving.
  • When running errands, park your car at the far end of the parking lot and take advantage of a longer walk to the door.
  • While waiting for your child’s or a friend’s soccer or baseball game to begin, take a walk around the playing field or parking lot.
  • At work, walk down the hall to speak to a co-worker instead of using the phone. Or, conduct an informal meeting with co-workers while taking a walk.
  • Ask your spouse or children to walk the dog with you.
  • Encourage your children to take a walk or play outside instead of watching TV or playing video games – and be an active role model of this practice yourself.
  • Take the stairs instead of using an elevator or escalator. Or, get off a few floors early and walk the remaining flights of stairs.
  • Use part of your lunch hour or break time to take a short walk.

If you wear a pedometer, you can see how close you come to meeting your 10,000-step goal each day. It also may be fun for children to use a pedometer to count their steps. This summer, make walking outdoors an activity the whole family can enjoy – and gain some important health benefits along the way.

IUJones

Jennifer Jones, MD, specializes in pediatrics. She is a guest columnist who works at IU Health Physicians Pediatrics, 1650 W. Oak St., Suite 210, in Zionsville. Jones can be reached by calling the office at 873-8855.


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