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Getting up and active on National Walking Day

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - National Walking Day is always recognized on the first Wednesday in April. It's an effort to encourage people to get up and get moving.

Walking is a simple activity that burns calories and improves balance and coordination. A regular exercise walking routine also lowers a person's risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and other diseases. Walking 10,000 steps per day is an effective way to improve your own health. 

Dr. Sarah Weiss, a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System, said that if someone is not a regular walker, there is no time like the present to start.

"I see patients come in all the time for chronic pain just from muscle stiffness from being less active. It's good to keep our joints moving to decrease the risk of something like osteoarthritis or joint pains," said Dr. Weiss.

Dr. Weiss said that when you go on walks, you should make sure that you are wearing supportive shoes. If you are experiencing constant foot pain that makes it difficult to walk, you should contact your primary healthcare provider.

Mayo Clinic Health System is offering these tips for easing your way into routine walking:

  1. Start slowly
    If you have been inactive, then start gently with five to 10 minutes at a steady pace, and build up over a couple of weeks to months.
  2. Set goals
    Set realistic goals for yourself, such as 20 to 40 minutes of walking five days a week.
  3. Plan continually
    If you're taking a trip or working overtime, think of strategies for incorporating short walks into your day to keep your plan on track.
  4. Don't let the weather get you down
    If the weather is not optimal, consider walking indoors, such as at local malls and exercise facilities.
  5. Plan several different routes, and make walking a social event
    Having several routes to choose from will add variety to your walking so you don't get bored. So will inviting friends or family to join you. And they'll reap the benefits of walking, too.
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Allante Walker

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