Your bones tend to become weaker as you age. But the good news is you can strengthen your bones by walking regularly. This low-impact exercise prevents loss of bone density, thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis, fracture, and injury. Since bones determine our framework, stronger and healthier bones help to improve posture, stamina, and balance (9). Walking can also prevent arthritis and reduce the accompanying pain.
Pedometers also work well for people who simply don't have time or don't take time to walk consistently as a form of exercise. By tracking the number of steps you take each day simply doing your regular daily activities, you may find that you're getting in plenty of exercise. Some experts recommend 10,000 steps a day. Others say this would be an eventual target.
Your morning cup of java could actually aid your weight loss efforts. According to the results of a 1990 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, caffeine consumption can increase calorie burn. A second study, published in a 1994 edition of the International Journal of Obesity, found that the consumption of 200 milligrams of caffeine increased calorie burn by 6.7 percent during a three hour period.

Getting blood pumping around your system and raising your heart rate provides a perfect workout for your heart and circulation system, and regular walks can even reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. Through lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the bad cholesterol) and increasing levels of its high-density alternative (HDL, the good cholesterol), you can keep your blood pressure in check. And by helping prevent and control high blood pressure you can reduce your risk of a stroke.

In the end, vigorous running wins out for calorie burn, but remember that calories aren't everything. Obsessing over exactly how many calories you consume or burn is just as unhealthy as not exercising at all. So choose the activity you love most—whether it be walking or running—and focus less on the calories and more on how much better you feel after doing it.


Your bones tend to become weaker as you age. But the good news is you can strengthen your bones by walking regularly. This low-impact exercise prevents loss of bone density, thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis, fracture, and injury. Since bones determine our framework, stronger and healthier bones help to improve posture, stamina, and balance (9). Walking can also prevent arthritis and reduce the accompanying pain.
Physical activity such as walking, jogging, indoor cycling, or aerobic dancing are all examples of aerobic exercise that strengthen the heart and lungs, therefore improving your body's utilization of oxygen. For general health, aim for a 30-minute workout (or three 10-minute workouts per day) three to five days a week at moderate intensity. Moderate intensity refers to an activity that will increase your breathing and get your heart beating fast. You should be able to talk with ease during moderate intensity workouts, though trying to sing would be more challenging.
Each time you perform any exercise, such as walking or running, you burn some calories. The amount depends on a few factors: your speed, the time of exercising, your weight and the slope. Intuitively, if the grade is negative (you're on a decline), you burn less calories than if it is positive. For extreme slopes, use our hiking calculator instead.
Health ToolsCalories Burned Calculator Calories Burned Calculator Find out how many calories you burn doing different activities. The calculator uses the type of physical activity and your basal metabolic rate to calculate calories burned, so gives a personalised result. Knowing roughly how many calories you expend doing different activities can help you with weight loss or maintenance.
I personally walk about two hours a day or about 55 miles per week. I do this barefoot without a shirt on at the beach and so am able to get my sun exposure and read two or three books a week. Multi-tasking like this allows me to easily justify the time investment. Most don't realize that walking burns the same amount of calories as running, it just takes longer.
/* */ var ajaxurl = "https://www.developgoodhabits.com/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php"; HomeAboutCheck Out Habit Videos!Read Top-Rated Habit BooksContact 21 Benefits of Walking: How 10,000 Daily Steps Leads to Lifetime HealthOne of the biggest tools for success also happens to be one of the simplest ones.Walking each and every day.You do not need to run marathons or triathlons to get a significant health improvement. Instead you get a lot of fitness and emotional gains from a small amount of daily walking.In today’s post, I will cover the many benefits of walking. You'll see how it can improve your mental, physical and emotional health.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'developgoodhabits_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_1',111,'0']));Plus you'll discover a few ideas on how to motivate yourself to walk each and every day. (And if you're looking for additional tools ​to lose weight and maximize your exercise, then check out these 11 apps that will help you plan out healthy meals.)A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So let's take the first one...The Benefits of Walking DailyWalking is something most people can do, regardless of their individual level of fitness.Regardless of whether someone has an active and physical lifestyle or whether the normal physical activity is a short trip from the couch to the refrigerator, increasing the amount of daily walking has significant benefits for both short and long term.Here are just a few of the benefits of daily walking:Low impact way to get in shape and lose weight. Walking between 7500 and 10000 steps a day is one of the keys of fitness.Improves sleepDecreases hypertension, reducing risks for heart attacks and strokes. Walking daily has been shown to increase good cholesterol (HDL) and decrease bad cholesterol (LDL).Reduces stress​Can quickly help you improve your health when balanced with other positive habits, ​like drinking a green superfood powder.Increases balance and enduranceIncreases sexual desire and satisfactionSlows mental declineImproves the mood and battles the effects of depressionGives you time to think. Daily walking can act as a form of meditation. It gives you time to mull over ideas. If you have problems at work or at home, a nice walk could help you to come up with solutions.Reduces fatigueOnce you form the habit, it is easy to turn it into a lifestyle change. Of all the forms of fitness and exercise routines, walking has the highest compliance rate.It can make you smarter. Daily walking can make you sharper and smarter and reduces the chances for long term mental disease because it helps to increase blood flow through the brain. READ: 10,000 Steps Blueprint 11 Steps to a Daily Walking Habit:1. Set a daily target.8,000 to 10,000 steps a day is a decent goal for daily walking. “Walk more” is not specific enough! The power of small wins where you can make a “difficult” but “achievable” goal, such as 10,000 steps a day, means that you constantly challenge yourself.This will help to make walking an ingrained habit. You get positive reinforcement each and every single day when you reach your goal.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'developgoodhabits_com-banner-1','ezslot_2',680,'0']));“Walk more” is not specific enough! 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day is a decent goal for daily walking.2. Make it a 30 Day Habit Challenge (30DHC).One thing I preach about here on the Develop Good Habits (DGH) website is the simple process of the 30 day challenge. If you force yourself to do something each and every day for 30 days, it begins to become an ingrained habit.For 30 days force yourself to walk each and every day. No excuses. You will find that you feel the positive effects and it becomes a habit in this short periods of time.3. Keep a daily log.You can use a notebook, spreadsheet, digital app, website or write it on the wall. How you keep track of your daily walking does not matter.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'developgoodhabits_com-box-4','ezslot_4',149,'0']));All that is important is that you keep track each and every single day. Set daily and weekly goals. Track your results and see how you improve over time.4. Set reminders to walk.Making a goal of 10,000 steps a day does not mean you need to set aside a block of 2 ½ hours for a walk. Set reminders on your one of your electronic devices (computer, cell, etc.) on app like Todoist to buzz you and let you know to take a break and a quick walk.A simple 5 minute walk each hour throughout your working day will put you on the path to reaching the daily walking goal, as well as making you feel better throughout the day (and likely increasing your productivity).5. Buy a Pedometer.It is important to get an idea of how much your walk each and every day. It is also important to all of those logs you will be keeping.There are quite a few pedometers on the market: simple pedometers, pedometers that will do the log-keeping for you, and even ones that make a “game” out of your daily walking. A Pedometer is a simple tool, but an important one.Check out this article on the Best Pedometers, where I discuss 4 different types of pedometers and you can see the best pedometers for Cheapskates, Techies, Multi-taskers and Gamers/Social Addicts.6. Increase incidental walking.Incidental walking is the walking you do each and every day, just to get from Point A to Point B. It is actually quite easy to increase chances of reaching your 10,000 step goal by increasing your incidental walking.Do not search for the closet parking spot, park far away and walk to the stores. If you need to pick something up at the grocery store, don’t drive ¼ of a mile - walk it.7. Make it fun.One of the good things about walking it that it CAN be enjoyable. Bring your iPod. Vary your location. Take a walk on the beach one day, a walk through the city the next and a walk in the forest the day after that.Walking does not need to be a chore. It's a positive lifestyle change that can become quite enjoyable.You can take pictures, meet people and have a good time. Walking does not need to be a chore. Remember it is a positive lifestyle change, and it can become a habit that's quite enjoyable.8. Buy a good pair of sneakers.If you are going to walk a lot, make sure you have comfortable and well cushioned walking shoes. Your legs and feet will thank you, and the lack of pain and discomfort will make the process go smoothly.To find the best pair of sneakers check out the best: Walking Shoes for Men OR Walking Shoes for WomenAdditionally, if your walking takes you off road and is more about hiking than a nice walk through the city, you may want to think about getting footwear for both hiking and walking.The different terrain of hiking rough trails and off-road means your feet have different needs than city walking.Here are two places to help you find the right hiking shoes/boots for your needs. The best hiking boots for women OR hiking boots for men9. Socialize and walk.If you are able to find some friends or family to walk with. This is a good idea for two reasons. The first is that others will help you to stick to your plan. The second is that walking with others can be simply more fun. A nice stroll on with a friend or family member will seem more enjoyable than trying to reach an arbitrary goal.Walk with someone and the walk will be over before you know it. Even if no family and friends are interested, you could join a local “walking club” and find others who will be interested in walking and socializing.10. Drink more water.It is important to drink water before and after your walk (for long walks: during the walk). Staying hydrated helps to keep you feeling great and increases the be positive effects of your walking.Staying hydrated helps to keep you feeling great and increases the be positive effects of your walking.11. Reward yourself.If you have been good about reaching your walking goals, reward yourself. Buy that new dress, go out to the movies or do something to “reward” your efforts. (Sidebar: grabbing a “Big Mac” might be counterproductive here) 155 Ways to Reward Yourself Walk your way to Fitness and Mental HealthMany people have grand ideas of fitness and exercise, only to fall short over a long period of time. Walking has the highest “success ratio” of any new exercise and fitness regime. It is an easy lifestyle change, which brings about huge benefits.When people begin to walk more frequently they often find it a fun and enjoyable part of their routine. They look forward to each and every day, rather than being something they “have to do” to stay fit and healthy.Over time the intensity and duration of the walks can be increased. Remember that for calorie burning purposes, you burn just as many calories walking a mile as you do running it. (The run just gets it done quicker).There are quite a few benefits of walking you will enjoy from making a minimum of walking 10,000 steps part of your regime.It is an essential part of your physical and mental health. Daily walking will make you feel better and become more productive and happy.15 Health Benefits of Walking Every DayWe could all benefit from being a little healthier, but many of us aren’t quite sure where to begin. Fortunately, something as simple as walking every day can greatly improve your health, help you lose weight, and get you feeling more confident about yourself and your body.There are dozens of reasons how walking every day can help you improve your lifestyle, but we’ve compiled this list of the 15 major benefits to every day walking.1. Increase Your LifespanStaying healthy is a crucial part to living a long and happy life, but you don’t need to be running marathons into your seventies to reap the benefits of staying active. A new study has shown that frequent walking can add up to 7.2 years onto the life of an individual.According to the study, the amount of walking the individual does will influence the number of years added to the individual’s life. Even just 75 minutes a week, less than 11 minutes of walking a day, can add almost 2 years onto an individual's life. The American Heart Association recommends that individuals get about 150 minutes of walking a week, which comes to just over 20 minutes a day.For most people, getting 20 minutes of walking is easy. Taking a pet for a walk or just strolling around the block for some relaxation is a great way to get the exercise you need to live longer.2. Manage Your WeightYou don't need to go on extreme diets or exercise rigorously to begin losing weight. Just walking can be enough to see a few pounds drop away. When you walk for extended periods of time, you can actually find that walking helps jump start your weight loss program and may even help you walk off an entire pants size in just a few weeks.If you're looking to use walking to help you lose weight, you may need to engage in a stronger program than just walking from Point A to Point B. Adding interval walking, keeping a certain pace, and walking with exercise bands are all great ways to help promote weight loss as you walk.3. Burns FatWhen we're looking to lose weight or just feel better in our own skin, burning fat is one of the biggest priorities we may have. Many of us who suffer with excess body fat got that way because of a lack of exercise and movement. Luckily, it isn't difficult to begin losing weight, it just takes a few days of brisk walking.Like discussed in point #2, walking is usually used more as a boost to a more intense workout plan. While walking can help you to lose excess fat, you probably aren't going to get the body of your dreams from walking alone. That being said, brisk walking can help you prevent belly fat from growing or from gaining fat.4. Helps Overweight People Get into ShapeSimilar to points #2 and #3, frequent walking is a great exercise for anyone looking to jump start a weight loss plan or workout regimen, particularly those who are currently overweight. Walking is an easy way for individuals who are overweight to get the movement and exercise they need. As walking gets easier, they can begin jogging or running to further promote weight loss and getting in shape.5. Reduces StressWalking can actually reduce stress in a number of ways, including setting your mind into a meditative state, boost endorphins, and give you more energy. The stress-reducing benefits of walking increase even more if you walk outside or bring a friend along.When you walk, you are getting exercise while still taking the time to appreciate your surroundings, which can allow you to forget about your stresses and worries, catch up with a friend in a non-stressful environment, and get the benefits of a good exercise.6. Reduces DementiaThe way that walking helps manage stress is very similar to the way it can help prevent dementia. A recent study showed that just a 20 minute walk a day actually reduced the susceptibility to dementia by 40%. Researchers on the study believe that walking can reduce the risk of dementia by opening up the window of the mind. Walking keeps the brain stress-free, releases endorphins, and allows the blood to flow more freely and fluidly through the brain.The best way walking can reduce the risk of dementia is through preventative measures, but it can also reduce some of the symptoms if patients of dementia begin walking regularly.7. Easy on the JointsWalking has a very low impact on the joints, so it is a great form of exercise for individuals with problems or pain in their joints. Walking is also a great exercise for individuals with joint pain because it is low cost and can be done anywhere, unlike other forms of exercise that may require a certain location, like a pool, or special equipment. Additionally, walking is also one of the top low-impact exercises that can help you lose weight and burn calories.Walking can also be a great way for athletes who have been injured to continue getting exercise they need. As something that is easy on the joints, going for frequent walks can allow them to stay mobile while they are recovering from their injury without needing to worry about compromising their condition.8. Lowers Blood PressureExercise in general can help you to keep your blood pressure at normal, lower rates. Luckily, walking is included in that spectrum and you don't even need to walk for long distance.If you are having trouble finding or making the time to get an adequate exercise in, walking for just three separate times a day can help you keep your blood pressure low.Taking a short, brisk walk in the morning, mid-day, and in the evening can be just as beneficial as getting 30 minutes of intense exercise when it comes to your blood pressure.Walking is an exercise that can help you to keep your blood pressure at normal, lower rates.Having high blood pressure can be extremely damaging to the body and the heart and can lead to serious health conditions like stroke or heart disease.Those who have a family history of such diseases or high blood pressure should seriously consider adding a walking routine into their daily lives and habits.9. Strengthens Your HeartYour heart health is incredibly important to your overall health, which means you need to pay attention to all diseases and illness that can harm your heart.Luckily, frequent walks can keep many of those diseases and conditions at bay, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Frequent walking is one of the best things you can do for your heart and preventing heart disease from developing.Getting the recommended 20 minutes a day is a great start for ensuring your heart stays healthy and disease-free.10. Strengthens Your Bones and Reduces Your Risk of OsteoporosisOsteoporosis is a serious condition that causes the bones to weaken and become brittle. While there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are a number of things you can do to strengthen your bones, including walking.Walking is considered a weight-bearing exercise, which means it puts weight on the bones. When doing a weight-bearing exercise, you're fighting against gravity to put pressure on the bones, which forces the bones to work more and gain strength.Staying still can be very harmful if you have osteoporosis, but it can also be difficult to find exercises that are not too risky for the condition. This makes walking one of the best exercises for individuals with osteoporosis.As we already mentioned, walking is easy on the joints, so while individuals with osteoporosis do not need to worry about further damaging their bones, they can still burn calories and get the exercise everyone needs.11. Reduces Depression and Improves Your MoodAs we already pointed out, walking can reduce your stress level. Having a high level of stress can cause you to be irritable and may even result in mental conditions like depression.In a recent study, researchers looked at how walking effected those suffering from depression. By having some of the group walk for 25 minutes in different areas of a city, they examined how walking in certain environments influenced the individual's moods.According to the study, those who spent their time walking in green areas had better moods and felt more engaged when they left their walking environment.Whether you're suffering from depression or just need to clear your head, taking about a half hour walk through a park can get you feeling better.This suggests that frequent walking in green, natural areas can reduce feelings of depression and make you feel happier.Whether you're suffering from depression or just need to clear your head, taking about a half hour walk through a park can get you feeling better.12. Boosts Your MemoryWhen we are physically fit and take the time to take care of our bodies, we usually experience higher levels of cognitive function. This means we can think more clearly, have an easier time remembering things, and are less likely to experience things like dementia when we grow older.In a recent study that looked at women, their physical activity, and their level of cognitive decline as they aged, it found that the more physical an individual is, the less likely they are to experience high levels of mental decline.By completing the 20 minutes of walking suggested each day, we can improve our memory and ward off cognitive diseases that can drastically decrease our quality of living.13. Improves Your SleepThere are a number of ways that walking can help you to improve your sleep. Exercise in general helps our body deal with stress, work off excess energy, and better prepare for sleep.As we've addressed in previous points, walking is a great way to deal with our stresses and help to manage our moods, which can frequently result in us staying up all night worrying about things like relationships, work, or finances.Frequent walking can help individuals who have trouble sleeping both by helping them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.In a study with chronic insomnia sufferers, which includes individuals who cannot fall asleep easily as well as individuals who have trouble staying asleep through the night, they found that a moderate-intensity exercise helped reduce the symptoms associated with chronic insomnia. That same study found that other forms of exercise, like running or lifting weights, did not help individuals sleep.This allows us to believe that even if you are an avid runner or weight lifter, you should still consider adding walking into your routine, especially if you find yourself having trouble staying asleep or falling asleep.14. Tones Up Your Legs, Butt, and StomachWe already addressed the many ways that walking can help you to lose weight and drop fat, but did you know it can also help you tone up? When you switch up your walking routine by adding new elements and locations, you can start to see the benefits you may have only believed came with intense workout plans.There are number of things you can do to tone your legs, butt, and stomach as you walk. One of the biggest suggestions is walking up hill, which can engage many muscles in your body and allow you to see results.If you don't have hills to walk up, find a place that requires you to walk up stairs, which can provide a similar effect. Other ways to increase your muscle movement and engagement when walking is to tighten your muscles as you walk. This gives them a similar experience to being naturally engaged, only they are experiencing manual engagement, causing them to work hard.Additional ways to tone up from walking include picking up your speed. If you're looking to get more benefit from your walking, consider walking faster or for longer periods of time. It is recommended to walk somewhere that you enjoy the scenery, which can increase the amount of time you're willing to walk.15. Boosts Your Vitamin DVitamin D is crucial to our health and happiness, and the best way to get enough of the necessary vitamin is through spending time in the sun.Being deficient in Vitamin D can lead to an increase of developing cardiovascular disease, and cause asthma in children, and may even cause cancer. It is also known to cause things like bone pain and muscle weakness.Taking frequent walks outside, particularly in the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest, can boost your levels of Vitamin D and get you feeling better. Mid-day walking is also crucial in the winter, when the days are shorter and it can be harder for individuals to get the amount of time in the sun that they need.Did you enjoy this list?eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'developgoodhabits_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_6',150,'0']));We hope that you found some useful information!If you're looking to get a little healthier, don't let yourself believe it is too difficult. Adopting just 20 minutes a day of brisk walking can give you all the above benefits and get you feeling better, more confident, and happier.Walking is a great exercise when used alone, but when used in conjunction with more rigorous exercises and physical exertions, adding walking to your routine can give you the health you've always dreamed of.​Also, if you'd like additional tools ​to lose weight and maximize your exercise, then check out these 11 apps that will help you plan out healthy meals.
A pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. To lose one pound a week, you will need to burn about 500 more calories per day than you eat. You can do this by increasing your calorie-burning activity or by eating fewer calories—or both. It is easier to achieve it with combining increased activity and eating less. Exercising enough each day to burn 300 to 400 calories is a good goal for the exercise portion of your weight loss plan.
3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.
Use the 1-to-10 scale of perceived rate of exertion to measure endurance. Think of 1 as watching TV; 10 is gasping for air (you can't go any further). Daily walks, for example, are 5 or even 6-6.5 sometimes. Twice a week, crank it up to 7, 8, or 9 on a steep hill for a few minutes. Now you're burning serious calories and building real aerobic fitness through interval training.

4. US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, The President s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Physical activity and health: a report of the Surgeon General. Washington (DC): US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 1996. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/summary.htm myDr myDr provides comprehensive Australian health and medical information, images and tools covering symptoms, diseases, tests, medicines and treatments, and nutrition and fitness.
“I like to say that running is a gift. Not everyone gets that gift. If you’re one of the ones who has been gifted with the ability to run and enjoy it, then treasure that gift. Nurture it and never ever take it for granted,” says Hamilton. “But walking is a wonderful activity and for those who don’t have the ability or desire to run, it can provide huge health benefits. The difference in calorie burn between briskly walking a mile and slowly running a mile is minimal—the more noticeable difference is how long it took you to cover the distance. Walking builds and maintains lower extremity and core strength, helps clear your mind, and, for runners, it’s a great way to have an active recovery day.”
Learn how to walk faster. You can boost your walking speed with improvements in your posture, use of arm motion, and using a powerful walking stride. Soon you'll be covering more distance in less time. That will let you burn more calories during a 30-minute workout. Additional tips for burning more calories while walking include using Nordic walking poles or learning the racewalking technique.
‘Aerobic’ exercise refers to exercise that requires the consumption of substantially more oxygen than at rest. It is of a light to moderate intensity, and can be undertaken for a prolonged duration (many minutes to several hours) without excessive fatigue. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, swimming or cycling at a steady pace. Another example would be dancing or ‘aerobics’ classes.Regular exercise causes your body to make adjustments that result in improved health and physical functioning. Continuing with regular exercise enables your body to maintain these benefits. Regularly doing the right types of exercise at the correct intensity, and for an appropriate duration, results in the most benefit.The benefits of aerobic exercise can be broadly categorised as either ‘fitness’ (physical capacity) or ‘health’. Fitness and health are linked, and most forms of aerobic exercise will help you achieve both.Fitness — including increased cardiorespiratory fitness and endurance (stamina)Regular aerobic exercise improves your cardiovascular fitness by increasing your capacity to use oxygen. It does this by increasing your heart’s capacity to send blood (and hence oxygen) to the muscles. This is mainly achieved through an increase in the size of the heart’s pumping chambers (ventricles), which means that your heart doesn’t have to beat as fast to deliver the same amount of blood. This is evident in a slower resting heart rate, and a slower heart rate for the same exercise intensity.As you get ‘fitter’, particular activities (such as walking or jogging at a specified speed) will become easier.You’ll also be able to undertake the activity for longer (known as endurance), and/or at a higher intensity (e.g. jogging at a faster speed). The same applies to activities such as cycling or swimming, but it should be noted that fitness tends to be specific. So jogging will provide only limited benefits to your swimming fitness and vice versa. However, a side-benefit you may notice is that you also have increased stamina for the everyday activities of life, not just for exercise.Other fitness improvements occur in the exercising muscles, and are specific to those muscles being used in the mode of exercise (e.g. walking, running, cycling, or swimming). These include an increased capacity for the muscles to take up and use the additional oxygen being delivered by the heart.Reduced risk of certain health problemsRegular aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer. It can lower blood pressure and improve your blood cholesterol by reducing the levels of LDL-cholesterol (so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol) and increasing the amount of HDL-cholesterol (so-called ‘good’ cholesterol). It can also reduce anxiety, stress and depression, as well as instilling a general sense of well-being. Regular aerobic exercise has even been shown to have the potential to increase your lifespan.Low-impact aerobic exercise such as swimming is valuable for improving general health and fitness in people who have arthritis or other conditions that limit their ability to do weight-bearing exercise.Importantly, whereas fitness tends to be quite specific, many health benefits can be gained from any form of aerobic exercise. Additionally, the health gains can be achieved from relatively moderate amounts of exercise — moving from a lifestyle involving no exercise to one that involves some exercise can lead to substantial improvements in health.Weight controlAerobic exercise burns up energy (calories). Regular sessions of 30 to 60 minutes of low to moderate intensity aerobic exercise (at around 55 to 70 per cent of maximum heart rate) can be an important part of a weight loss or weight management programme that is also mindful of the energy (calories) consumed as food.However, many of the health benefits associated with aerobic exercise occur independently of weight loss. Evidence from large studies has shown that active, overweight people do not have a greater risk of many diseases than inactive people who are not overweight. From a health perspective, it is of course best to be both active and a healthy weight, but if weight reduction is a problem, it doesn’t mean that the exercise is having no benefit.Improved bone and muscle healthYour risk of osteoporosis (excessive bone thinning as you age) can be reduced by regular weight-bearing aerobic exercise such as brisk walking.By stimulating the growth of tiny blood vessels in your muscle tissues, aerobic exercise has also been shown to lessen the pain experienced by people who have fibromyalgia or chronic low back pain, as the oxygen supply to the muscles is improved and waste products are removed more efficiently.Social benefitsRegular aerobic exercise can have social benefits too, whether you walk with a friend, play tennis with workmates, or form a social cycling team. Exercising with friends can also be the most effective way of ensuring that you do it regularly.Aerobic exercise precautionsAs with any form of exercise, be aware of over-exercising, either by doing aerobic exercise too hard, for too long or too often. This approach can lead to injury, and abandoning of your fitness programme. Remember to build up gradually from your current activity level, and not to progress too rapidly. If you are new to regular aerobic exercise, several weeks of low to moderate intensity aerobic exercise are usually advised before introducing more vigorous aerobic exercise sessions.If you have existing health problems, are at high risk of cardiovascular disease, or have muscle, bone or joint injuries, check with your doctor before undertaking an aerobic exercise programme. Also, men aged over 40 years and women aged over 50 years who have not exercised regularly in the recent past should check with a doctor before undertaking a programme of vigorous physical activity. Last Reviewed: 11 January 2010
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