Summer is the time for outdoor activities. Opportunities for exercise are abundant. You can go hiking, swimming or just go for a stroll in the neighborhood on a nice sunny day.

When winter comes, people tend to get out of shape. It is too cold in most places to work out outdoors and those without a gym membership often do not have exercise equipment. This lack of exercise opportunities has a tendency to turn us into couch potatoes until warm weather returns.

One thing that you can do during the winter is walk. You don’t have to go outside and freeze to do it. There are places where you can walk indoors.

If you’re willing to invest in a treadmill you can walk in the comfort of your own home. Treadmills can be found new for less than $350. You could also check the local paper for used ones. Some have features such as heart rate monitors, adjustable incline and speed control.

Joining a gym is another option. Most have treadmills and some have indoor tracks as well. In addition to walking you can take advantage of all sorts of fitness equipment and classes.

If you’re not a fan of walking in place and don’t want to join a gym, you could always go to the mall and walk. There’s plenty of room there and there is the added bonus of stairs that you can walk up and down. When you’re done walking, you can do any shopping that you need to do.

What Are the Benefits of Walking?

No matter where you walk, walking has numerous health benefits. It is one of the simplest exercises to do; yet it is also one of the most beneficial. You can enjoy the following benefits if you walk regularly:

* Both high and moderate intensity walking have been proven to be beneficial to aerobic fitness. If you’re doing low intensity walking (meaning that you’re walking at 45-55% of your maximum heart rate), you’ll need to walk 5-7 days a week for best results. If you’re walking at high intensity (65-75% of maximum heart rate), you can walk as little as 3 days a week.

* Walking regularly can lower the risk of numerous diseases. Cancer, diabetes and glaucoma are a few of them.

* Research has shown that walkers live longer than those who lead less active lives.

* Walking at moderate intensity is believed to boost your immune system. That is even more reason to walk in the winter.

Walking is an exercise that works most of the body. It requires no special equipment, classes or skills. Walking indoors in the winter is a great way to stay healthy year-round.