walking group3 adjWalking is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to stay physically fit. It can be done indoors (many malls and public buildings offer walking routes) or outdoors.

  • Before starting a walking program, check with your doctor if you have a chronic medical condition, or if you have had a recent injury. You can still walk as exercise, just follow your doctor’s advice.
  • Invest in good shoes. Since these are the only expense and equipment you’ll need, pay attention to the fit and quality of your shoes. Shoes should fit when you try them on without any areas of pinching or pressure that could cause blisters or calluses. Wear the type of socks you’ll wear when walking. 
  • Always warm up by walking at a slow or normal walking pace for five minutes before picking up the tempo of your workout.
  • Pay attention to your heart rate and breathing. Walk at a pace that challenges you and elevates your heart rate, but don’t overdo. You should be able to talk and carry on a conversation while you are exercising; if you can’t, you may be working too hard.
  • Use good walking posture. Swing your arms. Keep your head up, back straight, and abdomen flat. Point your toes straight ahead. Take long strides, but don’t strain.
  • Consider getting a pedometer or tracker like a Fitbit to track the distance you’ve walked or the number of steps you’ve taken. Watching your improvement over time is a terrific source of motivation.
  • Be sure to carry water if you’re walking long distances or are exercising in hot weather. In very hot weather you may need fitness drinks or other sources of electrolytes as well. Be mindful of the sugar and calorie content of some of these drinks.
  • In the heat of summer, don’t forget to wear a hat with a brim and to apply sunscreen to exposed areas.
  • Vary your route if you’re getting bored. To increase your fitness, add a route with some hills or changes in terrain, or alternate routes on different days of the week. Keep your workout interesting.
  • Use the buddy system. Many people walk with a buddy or in groups for support and motivation.

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