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The many benefits of walking

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By Lenny Bernstein
Thursday, April 1, 2010

You learned when you were barely a year old, so chances are you're pretty good at it by now. Put in 30 minutes a day and your body will thank you; 60 minutes and your doctor will gush.

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Yes, I'm talking about walking, still one of the easiest, most accessible and least expensive forms of exercise in a world of Aqua Zumba, Kangoo jumps and aerial fitness classes. Most people can do it. If you're physically able, all you need are a good pair of shoes and a safe place to go.

The benefits are enormous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity -- which, for adults, includes 150 minutes of brisk walking a week -- reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing colon cancer and diabetes. It helps control weight, develop muscle and reduce body fat.

Walking and other forms of exercise can help lower blood pressure and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. It also can have psychological benefits by curbing anxiety and depression symptoms, improving mood and fostering a sense of well-being.

If you want to ignore all that, consider this: It's spring. The cherry blossoms are in bloom.

So why aren't you out walking? Here are a few stories to inspire you.

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