English: Walking the dog in Swarland Wood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tips on Walking for Fitness
Walking is one of the simplest and most effective forms of exercise. You can do it virtually any time and any place. Whether you are new to walking as an exercise or if you have been doing it for years, these tips can help you get the most from your program..
- Check with your doctor if you are very overweight, have a chronic medical condition or if you have had a recent injury. This doesn't mean you can't undertake a walking program but you should check first "just in case"!
- Invest in good shoes. These are the only equipment you need, so it is worth investing. Pay attention to the fit and quality. Shoes should fit when you try them on without any pinching or pressure that could cause blisters or calluses. Wear the type of socks you'll wear when walking when you purchase your shoes. Shoes should have good arch support and a slightly elevated heel with stiff material to support the heel when walking and prevent wobbling.
- Always warm up and warm down by walking at a slowly or at normal walking pace for five minutes before picking up speed and warm down by slowing up for five minutes before you finish your walk
- Pay attention to your heart rate and breathing. Walk at a pace that challenges you and raises your heart rate, but don't overdo. You should walk at a speed that allows you to talk and carry on a conversation while you do it. If you do get to out of breath or you feel giddy, then stop and rest. conversation while you are exercising; if you can't, you may be working too hard.
- Get a pedometer to track the distance you've walked. It is great for setting goals and for maintaining motivation
- Always carry water when you are walking, particularly in hot weather. It is all too easy to become dehydrated
- Vary your route if you're getting bored. Add a route with some hills and changes in surroundings. You could have different routes for different days of the week.
- Walk with a friend,. Many people walk with a chum or in a group to maintain motivation. For some listening to their iPods keeps them going, Find what works best for you.