The Wonders of Walking

As soon as you take that first step, Stepping Outa host
of metabolically significant events are set in motion inside your body.

Early in your walk, your adrenal glands begin secreting adrenaline, which gets into your bloodstream and signals your heart to beat faster and causes your blood pressure to go up. The heart then begins to pump more blood away from the chest and into the muscles of the limbs you are using to get yourself down the street. As a result, blood vessels in your arms and legs begin to expand as they are fed more nutrients and oxygen by the blood.

As your heart rate climbs, you are taking more breaths per minute, sometimes increasing your oxygen intake to 10 times the amount you would be taking in if you were sitting still. As the muscles receive more blood, they begin to use up carbohydrates and sugar starches they have stored. Metabolism -- the process by which the body breaks down materials and coverts them to fuel -- speeds up.

Exercise causes the brain to release an abundance of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which works to elevate your mood.

Let's Get Started

Look at increasing your steps each day. A good goal to shoot for if you are trying to get fit is 10,000 steps a day.

Purchase a pedometer and clip it on your waist from morning to bedtime. To take 10,000 steps a day, take 10-minute bouts here and there or lengthy loops around a track in your neighborhood.

Those 10,000 steps will translate into a different distance for each person. The average is about five miles. The typical office worker averages 2,500 to 5,000 steps a day.