One of the least expensive and easiest ways to stay physically fit is to walk. This is a versatile form of exercise that can be done indoors as many public building offer walking routes or outdoors. You can also tailor the intensity of your walk based on your goals and abilities. If you are looking to establish a walking routine to lose weight, get fit or simply get into the habit, there are some tips that can help you get the most out of it.
Talk To Your Doctor
Before you start any form of walking program, you need to talk to your doctor if you have a chronic medical condition or a recent injury. You should not assume that you will not be able to start walking for exercise if you have a medical condition. Exercise walking can actually help to control the progression of diseases and relieve the symptoms that people with diabetes and cardiovascular disease suffer from. Symptom relief has also been felt by people with other musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis. Exercise is also a vital part of any weight loss program which can also help with chronic medical conditions.
Invest In Good Shoes
Your shoes will be the only equipment and expense that you need for exercise walking so pay attention to the quality and fit. The shoes should fit when you try them on and there should be no pressure or pinching which could cause blisters. Insoles like Sole Active Insoles could also help cushion your feet. You should also wear the socks that you will have when walking when you try the shoes on. If you are going to wear thick socks when walking, you will need to look at a larger shoe size.
The shoes that you choose also need to offer good arch support. The heel of the shoes should be slightly elevated and made from a stiff material which prevents wobbling and supports you when walking. Depending on the terrain and climate you will be walking in, accessories such as trekking poles may be helpful.
Always Warm Up And Pay Attention To Your Heart Rate
Before you start your long walk, you need to take the time to warm up. This can be done by walking at a normal or slow pace for around 5 minutes. You will then be able to pick up the pace of your walking to get the benefit of the exercise.
Once you start your main walk, you need to pay attention to your breathing and heart rate. You need to walk at a pace that elevates the heart rate, but you need to be careful not to overdo it. You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercises and if you cannot, you could be pushing too hard.
Have Good Posture
You need to have good walking posture to ensure that you are getting the most out of this exercise. When you walk, you should swing your arms while keeping your head up, back straight and abdomen flat. Your toes should be pointing straight ahead. When walking, you should also look at taking long strides, but you should not strain yourself.
Consider A Pedometer
You should consider getting a pedometer which will help you keep track of how far you have walked or the number of steps you have taken. You will be able to see your improvement over time and this will help you stay motivated. You can also use a fitness tracker or app to track your walking and provide additional motivation.
Carry Water With You
If you are going to be walking long distances, you need to remember to take water with you. In very hot weather, you should look at taking fitness drinks and other electrolyte sources as well. Of course, you will need to be mindful of the caloric and sugar content of these drinks. While water is important, you should also look at wearing a hat with a wide brim during the summer months.
Vary Your Route
It can get boring to walk the same route every day which is why you should vary this. To increase your fitness, you should look at routes that have changes in terrain and inclines. You could alternative routes throughout the week to ensure that you get the full benefit.
There are a lot of people who walk with friends or groups to keep their workout interesting. There are other walkers who feel that music is enough to motivate them while others want to take in the sights and sounds around them. You need to find a solution that will keep you motivated.