UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – On this Aspirus Medical Monday, the focus is on the benefits of walking.

Brett Gervais, a physical therapist with Aspirus Health, and Francis Prins, a student physical therapist from Central Michigan University, give insight into those benefits.

“There are many benefits to walking, and it might not seem like there are but it goes from heart health to brain health, your bones,” said Gervais. “So oftentimes people when they’re a little bit older our bones become osteoporotic. Even walking it’s a weight-bearing activity that can help build your bones stronger. There’s a social impact with walking. Just being out with a friend for recreational activity, there’s something to be said about the mental health aspect of that as well. Even just being out in the woods, going for a brisk walk in the woods where you can reflect on your day or you can think about things.”

Prins goes on to talk about whether or not people can lose weight with walking being their sole physical activity.

“People can lose weight just by walking, especially if you were previously kind of semi-sedentary. It’s a good starting point. It kind of just goes with offsetting that calorie expenditure. So you’re going to be burning more calories than you’re taking in than before and building that muscle mass.”

Gervais explains how often we should be participating in physical activity each week.

“The recommendation would be about 150 minutes per week. If you break that up it turns out to be about 20 to 25 minutes a day. That is for moderate activity. This is per the American Heart Association recommendations. That could even include activities like gardening, just being out in the yard moving around. Like Francis mentioned, being sedentary is anything just to break you out of that habit.

“We have long winters where we live and so it’s very easy to become static. So just getting moving 20 to 25 minutes a day is what they recommend. Then on top of that try to do some type of stretching routine or resistance training a couple of times a week and that doesn’t need to be anything too vigorous that you can’t handle. But throwing that in there helps break up your activities and keep things a little more engaged.”