Dear Karen,

Now that it’s nice out, I’d like to get some exercise outdoors. What should I do?

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Dear James,

That’s great you want to get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air. The first activity I recommend is walking. It can be done anywhere, doesn’t require special equipment (besides good fitting shoes) and has a lot of benefits.

Benefits include:

• Calorie burn: Depending on your weights and walking pace, you will burn approximately 150 calories during a half hour walk.

Relaxation and energy boost: Walking when you’re tired can be more effective at energy boosting than drinking a cup of coffee. It increases the oxygen flow through our bodies and increases energy boosting hormones. Walking is also great for stress, anxiety and depression relief.

• Muscle toning: Walking will strengthen and tone muscles in your legs, especially if you walk in a hilly area. For an extra muscle strengthening boost, add lunges or squats to your walk.

• Eases joint pain: Moving our joints helps keep them lubricated and reduces pain and stiffness, including pain from arthritis. Motion is lotion.

• Boosts creativity: Walking helps clear our head and improves problem solving and creative thinking. Try a walking meeting with colleagues to exercise and get the creative juices flowing at the same time.

Walking also improves heart health, lowers blood sugar, increases life span, and boosts immunity. To be safe, walk in well-lit pedestrian areas, wear appropriate footwear, stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.

Enjoy yourself and our beautiful Minnesota summer!

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