Walk to improve your health

This gentle plan requires minimal time and can reduce your risk of heart disease and depression and improve your energy levels, sleep and memory.

Walk for at least 30 minutes every day―it's key for optimal health and may help prevent illnesses, like heart disease. If you can't do a full session, break it down into 5- to 10-minute walks. (You can also buy a pedometer to track your steps: aim for 10,000 per day.)

Remember: The important thing is to get the 30 minutes in every day. Don't worry about trying to walk quickly or pumping your arms to increase calorie burn. If you start to feel as though you need more of a challenge, try a more intense walking workout.

Sneak as much walking as possible into your daily routine:

  • Pace while you chat on the phone.
  • Suggest a family stroll after dinner.
  • March in place during commercials when watching television.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Always choose the parking space that's farthest from the mall or office.
  • Play tag or ring-around-the-rosy with your kids.
  • Carry your laundry downstairs--and back up--in three or four separate loads.
  • Meet a girlfriend for window-shopping instead of coffee.
  • Do laps around the field or swimming pool during your child's sports events.