A walking program that aims for 10,000 steps a day is a great way to include exercise in your daily routine. Walking is a safe exercise that can be done almost anywhere, during any season, provided you use some common sense.

Walking has been shown to prevent many of the common medical conditions that affect people as they age. It is even though to be protective against some cancers, such as colon cancer, and lower the risk of dementia and diabetes.

Those who already have chronic conditions can also benefit from regular exercise. Walking is low impact but is a weight-bearing exercise that quickly helps build muscle and improve bone health.

Walking has been shown to prevent or improve the following health conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Mood disorders

Studies have shown that people with cancer who walk regularly tend to have better outcomes than those who do not. Those with rheumatoid arthritis need to exercise regularly in order to minimize the damage this autoimmune disorder does as it attacks the joints.

A recent study has shown that walking appears to be protective against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s usually have at least one of the conditions listed above, so the more you can do to prevent these, the more independent and mobile you can remain well into your senior years.

The most obvious benefit of walking is to tone and trim, and help you lose weight. Walking burns calories and works a range of muscle groups at the same time.

As with all forms of exercise, check with your doctor first to make sure you are well enough to walk. If you are over 40 and spend most of your time sitting at work or at home, and have not seen a doctor in the past year, start your walking program with a full checkup.

If you have any chronic health condition, warning signs and symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Asthma, diabetes or heart trouble.
  • Pain in your arm, neck or chest when you are active (angina) or even at rest.
  • Frequent dizzy spells.
  • Trouble breathing after physical activity.
  • Issues with your bones or joints that make it painful to walk.

A walking program can offer many health benefits provided you put safety and common sense first.