Today the issues of increasing obesity rates and low levels of physical activity across all age groups are constantly in the news and on our minds. So too is the dilemma of finding the right workout routine that is enjoyable, economical, and fits into our busy schedules.

There seems to be a never ending stream of exercise and fitness fads designed to get us active, but if you’re not able or comfortable spinning, kickboxing, or grunting through a fitness boot camp, don’t despair.

There’s a simple activity that almost everyone can do that is often overlooked – walking. Walking costs next to nothing, provides a wide range of health benefits and can easily fit around your schedule. Whether you want to improve your general health, to keep fit, or to control your weight, walking can help.

Numerous studies have shown that regular walking can also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower blood pressure, reduce body fat and weight, increase bone density, and improve mental well-being.

When starting out, begin like you would with any new type of physical activity. Start out slow and easy then increase the duration and intensity over time.

If you have any concerns about your health or haven’t participated in regular exercise for some time consult a physician. For most people a simple 15 minute walk is a good way to get going for your first time.

Walk three times a week. As you feel able you can begin to add 5 minutes a week until you are up to your desired time. For general health benefits, you should strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of walking at least 5 days per week.

The toughest thing about starting any fitness program is making it a habit. Getting out every day will help you to establish walking as part of your of your daily exercise routine. Walking with a friend or in a group is a fun way to get your exercise and support each other.

Central Community Health Centre has a walking program that meets every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome regardless of fitness level. There is no cost. Call 519-633-7989 to register and start your walking exercise program with us.