Harvard Health Letter

Start a walking program in 3 easy steps

Map out a route, dress appropriately, and follow our quick-start guide to get going.

As we said on page 1, exercise is medicine, and walking is a very common and good form of exercise. Regular brisk walks can help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. They can also strengthen bones and muscles, burn more calories, and lift mood. So why is it hard for many of us to start a walking program?

"With so much at stake, it seems overwhelming," says Dr. Richard Ginsburg, a psychologist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. "The best way to begin is to start slowly and gradually increase the number of steps you take each day." Here we offer the first three steps to help you on the path to better health.

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