The Benefits of Walking


If you are new to exercising and don't know where to start - try walking !  It is easy to do, does not require any special skills and as Hippocrates once said "walking is a man's best medicine"

Getting Started:

  • Get a good pair of lightweight walking shoes that provide support and comfort to all parts of your foot.  There should be enough toe room so you can wiggle your toes and have firm support at the heels.  A flexible, cushioned sole will help absorb shock and they should be made of breathable material to allow perspiration to dissipate.  There are many shoes specifically designed for walking although a running shoe or tennis shoe will also serve the purpose.
  • Get a pedometer and wear it every day.  It is fun to see how many steps you have taken doing your daily household chores and errands, and it also allows you to keep track of your progress goals.
  • Good posture is important - keep your head up and your back straight. Keep your arms and shoulders loose.
  • Land on the heel of the foot and roll forward to drive off the ball of the foot.
  • Take long, easy strides. Lean forward slightly when you are walking at a rapid pace or up/down hills.
  • Bend your elbow at a 90 degree angle, swing your arms so they come up to about chest level and curl your hands into a loose fist. This helps exercise your upper body. You can also wear wrist weights to give additional resistance.
  • Take deep regular breaths - don't hold your breath.
  • Walk, don't run.  Begin slowly and gradually increase your walking time and intensity. These two factors should be adjusted for your age, health, and fitness level.  If you are finding it difficult to breathe easily or hold a conversation, slow down.
  • Stretch before and after your walk - this will help loosen your muscles.
  • Start your walk with a 5 minute warm up.  Walk at a medium pace and at the end of 5 minutes you can begin your normal walking routine. 
  • After your walk, slow down gradually.  Spend 5 minutes walking slowly as abruptly stopping your exercise can result in dizziness.  Don't include the 5 minutes warm up and cool down in your exercise time.

An example of a beginner 10 week program:

Week 1: Walk 3 times a week for about 15 minutes (+ 10 minutes warm up and cool down)

Weeks 2 and 3:   Walk 3 times a week for 20 minutes (+10 minutes warm up and cool down)

Weeks 4 - 7: Walk 3-4 times a week for 25 minutes (+10 minutes warm up and cool down)

Weeks 8 - 9: Walk 4 times a week for 30 minutes (+ 10 minutes warm up and cool down)

Week 10: Walk 4 times a week for 32 minutes (+ 10 minutes warm up and cool down)


* * * Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program. 
If you feel discomfort at any time, slow down or stop. * * *






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