No shortcuts for Leonard Pannone. He makes a point to put extra steps in his day.
“Well, I try to do a minimal of 45 minutes, 40-45 minutes on the treadmill,” says Pannone.
He picked up walking for exercise following a heart attack in 1990.
“I just felt it was good and she gave me some good principals to follow on it and so I’ve been doing it since,” says Pannone.
Experts say walking can be a lifesaver. Far beyond a steppingstone in rehab, studies show it can also help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, and may prevent heart attacks or stroke.
“Studies have shown that exercise is just as good as medication to balance out the blood pressure and get it down more to a normal reading,” says Jenni Muench.
A fitness expert with the Lee Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness, Muench finds walking is a building block to better health.
“Just that repetitive motion and keeping the body moving versus that sedentary mode that some people get into,” says Muench.
To get the full benefit, people have to put a spring in their step. The sweet spot is somewhere between a stroll and a power walk: a brisk pace. You’ve reached it when your heart rate is slightly elevated. Adding arm movements ups the workout.
“It certainly helps you increase the intensity, get the blood flowing a little quicker, increase the heart rate,” says Muench.
It’s powerful medicine research shows, helping both body and spirit.
“At my age I think it’s appropriate,” says Pannone.