SAN DIEGO, May 4 (UPI) -- More Americans are taking advantage of the outdoors and enjoying leisurely walks on a regular basis, a U.S. non-profit fitness group says.
Officials of the American Council on Exercise said: "Think walking isn't an intense enough workout to help you meet your fitness goals? Think again, a regular walking program of 30 or more minutes a day has been shown to help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, boost bone strength and burn calories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said."
To join in recreational walking, the American Council on Exercise advises:
-- One of the best parts of starting a walking routine is that all you need are comfortable clothes and shoes.
-- Whether you're a beginner or exercise enthusiast, walking offers the flexibility of being able to customize the intensity and time spent exercising.
-- If just starting out, begin with walking short distances until endurance is built.
-- You should be able to still carry a conversation while walking, and be able to catch your breath.
-- Once you've built up the endurance to walk further and faster, change the route to increase the intensity of the walk.
-- No matter how short or long your walk, always remember to warm-up before. Walk in place for a few minutes to get the blood flowing, and then perform a few simple stretches for your legs, back, shoulders and arms.