Walking has been touted as the easiest way to incorporate exercise into anyone's diet and exercise routine. It is low impact and does not require any special equipment in order to get started. Anyone in any physical condition can reap benefits from adding walking to their exercise routine.
In order to get the most out of walking, take into consideration the following:
- Get a physical: Whether you are a first time walker, or a seasoned athlete, it is always a good idea to get a full physical evaluation before starting a new training program. Many times there are underlying health issues, which may thwart a person's attempt to get fit. Not to mention, it's just a good idea to ensure that everything is in tiptop shape before beginning a walking regime.
- Purchase walking shoes: This is not a must, but wearing walking shoes will help you in your walking endeavors by protecting your joints and bones from impact, keeping the morning-after soreness that can accompany vigorous walking at bay. If you choose to pass on purchasing walking shoes, make sure you wear a comfortable, well-fitting pair of rubber soled shoes in order to avoid blisters.
- Stay hydrated: It is important to drink regularly while you walk, for a number of reasons. First, when you exercise, your body begins to release toxins from your cells at an accelerated rate. Water helps your body to process those toxins and flush them out of your system more easily. Also, water facilitates internal body temperature control. If you are dehydrated, your body cannot produce the sweat it needs to maintain the proper body temperature. You run the risk of overheating and passing out. This is especially true in the hot summer months.
- Start slowly: It is important to understand the concept of conditioning. If you are new to exercising, or just new to walking, take it slow. Aim for a 15-20 minute walk at 3 miles per hour every day. After this becomes easy, add speed and distance in small increments and work your way up to a brisk walk, approximately 4-5 miles per hour, thirty to forty five minutes per day. To add a little variety, add some inclines and declines to work other muscle groups, but shorten the duration and speed.
Walking is a great way to get you started down the road to fitness. Just take it slow and steady, and within a few months, you'll be amazed at the difference.