Wellness: Walk a faster mile

Love to walk? Challenge yourself to pick up the pace.

Walking has lots of benefits. It not only adds years to your life, but it can help you lose weight, boost your mood, improve your sleep, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and keep your bones and your brain healthy. Plus, it’s a wonderful activity to do with family members or a friend.

To get the most health benefits from every step you take, try picking up your pace. Taking just one minute off of your mile time, working your way to a 19-minute mile instead of a 20-minute mile — or, better still, to a 15-minute mile instead of a 16-minute mile —will provide even more benefit.

One easy way to increase your speed is to do intervals. Walk one minute at a quicker than usual (for you) speed and then walk for two minutes at a slower pace until your breathing returns to normal. Continue to alternate speeds for the duration of your workout. As you get stronger, make incremental changes to your interval ratio. Eventually you’ll be able to walk for two minutes at your speedy pace and then one minute at a slower recovery pace — and, over time, you’ll increase your overall average speed.

Use a pedometer to track your steps—and your walking time—to help you stay motivated.

Check out the online health assessment tool called Family Health Manager at www.riverwoodhealthcare.org Family Health Manager is an interactive tool that offers you personalized health and wellness options. At no cost, anyone can learn their health score, connect to local resources and create goals in support of healthy living. You can also understand and track key numbers important for overall health. Family Health Manager provides actionable steps to maximize health in key areas such as well-being, activity, sleep, nutrition and pain management. To get started, go to https://health.riverwoodhealthcare.org/fhm

Looking for wellness information? Visit the wellness page on Riverwood’s website. This is a one-stop source of information on both Riverwood wellness resources, such as services and education, and Community wellness resources with info on classes, programs, recreational opportunities and more.