Walking for Fitness

Some people can’t simply indulge themselves to physically demanding activities either because of health problems or a bunch of excuses to stay inactive. But this doesn’t mean that there’s no exercise plan that they can follow. It’s not so difficult to start with and safe for everyone, just WALK. It’s one of the easiest exercises you can perform with the guarantee of benefits.

Regular brisk walking benefits:

 

  1. Improves cardiovascular fitness
  2. Improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  3. Strengthens bones
  4. Improves balance and coordination
  5. Helps to maintain body weight
  6. Lifts your mood

How to start:

 

If you have any medical problem, consult a doctor first before starting any routine. Always start slow and easy, adjust the pace and distance once you get used to the activity or build a certain level of fitness. You can start within the confines of your home and hit the road later on.

Proper walking technique:

  1. Head’s up. Look forward, not down.
  2. Back should be straight and relaxed. Not arched.
  3. Tighten abdominal muscles.
  4. Neck, Shoulders and back should be relaxed.
  5. Allow your arms to swing freely with your elbows slightly bent.
  6. Step from heel to toe.

How to prepare:

 

Before you start, a little preparation is needed.

  1. Shoes. Choose the proper sneakers. If you don’t know what to look for, go to stores selling running shoes and have someone properly fit you. Using shoes designed for running/walking will save you from avoidable discomfort and injuries.
  2. Water bottle. It is important to drink water before, during, and after walking. You lose a significant amount of water in your body so you need to rehydrate.
  3. Clothing and paraphernalia. Wear comfortable clothing. If you decided to walk during the night, it’s advisable to wear bright-colored clothes or reflective tape for visibility. You can wear a cap during daytime to protect you from the heat of the sun.
  4. Area. Plan your course; choose a path where there are no hazards. Uneven or damaged roads can be dangerous. Avoid polluted areas and roads with heavy traffic as much as possible. If you’re planning to walk at night time, choose a well-lighted place.
  5. Warm up. Walk slowly for a few minutes to warm the muscles and to slightly elevate your heart rate before starting your routine.
  6. Stretching. Once your muscles are warmed up, stretch for around 5-10 minutes. Dynamic stretching is preferred before exercise to improve flexibility and prepare the body for the activity, and Static stretching at the end of the activity also helps improve flexibility and helps to facilitate muscle relaxation during cool down.
  7. Cool down. At the end of your walk, don’t stop immediately and sit down. Walk slowly for another 5 minutes to cool your muscles down as well as stabilize your heart rate and breathing back to normal.

Once you have formed the habit and started doing it regularly, it’s time to evaluate your progress. Make a record of how long you cover a particular distance. Record your heart rate as well. You may notice that after some time the usual distance you walk become more and more effortless to finish. You may also notice that you can increase your speed without panting or getting easily fatigued. At this rate, you can decide to increase the intensity of your workout. You can increase your speed, distance, and the time dedicated for the workout depending on your goals. You can as well start walking up and down the stairs, or if you prefer walking outdoors, you can find some hill or a ramp to increase resistance.