Studies have indicated that the majority of Americans fall short of the recommended amount of exercise. In fact, far greater than the majority do, 80% do not get enough exercise.

The U.S. government recommends that adults should get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise a week or 1.5 hours of vigorous exercise a week. That breaks down to just 20 minutes a day. But when adults fail to meet such a basic level of physical exercise, the long-term consequences can be quite serious.

Lack of exercise has caused an increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes among Americans. Currently, about 35% of adult Americans are obese and nearly 70% are considered overweight or obese. Twenty-nine million people in the U.S. have diabetes and another 86 million have pre-diabetes (elevated blood sugar levels, but not enough to be considered a diabetic).

There is a simple solution to this epidemic: 30 minute walks.

Yes, in an age of popular exercise classes like CrossFit, SoulCycle, and Barry’s Bootcamps, a simple walk can extend your life and improve your overall health. Here’s 5 benefits simply walking 30 minutes a day has on your health.

Strengthens Your Heart

Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans every year. A 30 minute walk everyday helps you reduce your likelihood of a stroke by lowering your blood pressure. It also helps you lower your cholesterol.

Lowers Your Risk of Disease

As you’re out for your daily walk, you’ll simultaneously be working to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Studies show that walking can lower your risk by as much as 60%, while you’re also less likely to develop different types of cancer, like colon and breast cancer.

Prevents Dementia

The likelihood of dementia increases as people age. One in 14 Americans over the age of 65 are affected and one in six over the age of 80 are affected by dementia. But regular walks, adding up to at least six miles a week, help the brain avoid shrinkage and preserves memory capabilities.

Helps Lose Weight

For some people, walking is  all the exercise they need to lose weight. A 30 minute walk at a pace of 2 miles per hour (MPH) can burn 75 calories. That’s an extra 525 calories burned a week if you’re walking daily. Over the course of a year you can burn nearly eight pounds of fat by just walking every day.

Boosts Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to our health. It helps our bone health and immune systems. The best way to get Vitamin D into your system is through sunlight. A walk during your lunch break will get you the Vitamin D your body craves.

The excuse, “I don’t have time to work out” really doesn’t cut it. People use that excuse when they think they need two hours to go to the gym, park, workout, drive home, and shower. But if you’re looking to make a change in your health, you don’t need to invest that much time. A 30 minute walk every day will do wonders for your heart and overall health. The best part about walks? They’re free. Treat your body right and start taking 30 minute walks a day.

Image Courtesy of Charles Forerunner

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