Published on April 03, 2017

Walk your way to better health—it’s easy!

Looking for a simple, inexpensive way to get more exercise?

Couple walkingLook no further than your feet.

“When I talk to my patients about physical activity, the No. 1 exercise I recommend is walking,” says Milagros Soto-Pillot, DO, a primary care physician at Mercy LIFE. “You don’t have to buy a gym membership. You don’t need any special equipment. All you need is a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes.”

Brisk walking is an aerobic exercise. It gives your heart and lungs a workout, which improves your physical fitness.

“My patients who have started a walking program tell me that, in addition to losing some weight, they sleep better, breathe better and feel stronger because of it,” Dr. Soto-Pillot says.

Other benefits include:

• Lower blood pressure

• Improved cholesterol levels

• Stronger bones

• Better flexibility

How to get started

Before you buy walking shoes, check with your doctor.

“I always ask patients to talk to me prior to starting any new exercise program,” Dr. Soto-Pillot says.

A good fitness goal is walking 30 minutes a day. But your doctor might suggest you start slowly—by walking for just 10 minutes at a time. You can add minutes as your endurance improves.