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1. Walking reduces stress and cheers you up

If you’ve ever gone out for a walk in a huff and come back more calm and collected, you know firsthand that walking can help reduce your response to a stressful event.

2. Regular walking lowers blood pressure, improves sleep and energizes you

Regular walkers have fewer heart attacks and strokes, lower blood pressure and higher levels of HDL (healthy cholesterol) than non-exercisers. Walking can lower blood pressure and LDL (lousy cholesterol), decrease the risk of many cancers and improve immune system function. Plus it improves quality of sleep and keeps you energized.

3. You can lose weight by walking just 30 minutes a day

Walking is one of the best exercises for losing weight — it’s relatively easy to do (and easy on the joints), it’s free and you have to do it every day anyway. To start walking for fitness, try to begin with a 20-minute walk every day. If that’s too much, start smaller. But do set a goal of building to 30 minutes a day, every day.

Once you mastered that, take your time increasing to a higher level. Never increase more than 10 percent more any one day than your maximum the prior week. Once you are ready, increase your goal to 10,000 steps a day (A pedometer will help)