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The Common Myths About Walking for Exercise

By Sara Butler

Walking is a popular way to exercise -- and for good reason. It's good for your heart and helps to build muscles while managing to be kinder to your joints than other forms of exercise. Most people can do it easily and it doesn't require any specialized gear either. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a place to walk safely.

Still, walking doesn't seem to get the respect it deserves as a form of exercise. If you aren't convinced that walking is the workout for you, then it's time to take a look at why. Here are some of the myths about walking and the truth behind them.

Myth No. 1: You Have to Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day

There's a magical number floating around that everyone sets their Fitbit to: 10,000 steps. You may think walking isn't worth it if you can't reach that goal, but the truth is that 10,000 steps may simply be an arbitrary target.

Sure, there have been studies that link that magical number with reduced blood pressure and improved blood sugar, but it's also equivalent to five miles per day and that can intimidate people just getting started.

What you should really start aiming for is time. Spending 30 minutes five days per week doing something physical, such as walking, is a better goal that may not feel so overwhelming. Walking just 2,000 steps per day can be beneficial to your health too, so don't get hung up on a big number.

Myth No. 2: Walking Is Only For People Who Can't Run

Many people see walking as the starting point for doing more intense exercise, but walking is good enough by itself. It doesn't need to be a gateway to other exercises. Experts agree that walking is good for anyone and in studies it's been found to have the same cardiovascular benefits as well as benefits to blood sugar, as running.

The trick is to maximize the benefits of walking. You should start by focusing on how long you do it and how far you go. The type of exercise you do doesn't matter as long as you're logging time getting physical activity in most days of the week.

Walking is something most people can do easily. If you're looking for an exercise you can do regularly, then walking is it!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sterling, Va.

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