Walking is one of the easiest ways to exercise. You can do it almost anywhere and at any time. Walking is also inexpensive. All you need is a pair of walking shoes (sneakers).

 

Walking will:

 

  • Give you more energy

  • Make you feel good

  • Help you to relax

  • Reduce stress

  • Help you sleep better

  • Tone your muscles

  • Help control your appetite

  • Increase the number of calories your body uses

Answer the following questions before you begin a walking program:

 

  • Has your doctor ever told you that you have heart trouble?

  • When you exercise, do you have pains in your chest or on your left side (neck, shoulder or arm)?

  • Do you often feel faint or have dizzy spells?

  • Do you feel extremely breathless after mild activity?

  • Has your doctor told you that you have high blood pressure?

  • Has your doctor told you that you have bone or joint problems, like arthritis, that could get worse if you exercise?

  • Are you over 50 years old and not used to a lot of exercise?

  • Do you have a condition or physical reason not mentioned here that might interfere with an exercise program?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please check with your doctor before starting a walking program or other forms of exercise. 

 

How to start a Walking Program:

 

  • Leave time in your busy schedule to follow a walking program that will work for you

  • Choose a safe place to walk

  • Find a partner or group of people to walk with you

  • Wear shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel, and thick flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb shock. Before you buy a new pair, be sure to walk in them in the store

  • Wear clothes that will keep you dry and comfortable like synthetic fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin

  • Walk at least three times a week

  • Start gradually to avoid stiff muscles and joints

  • Over several weeks, begin walking faster and for longer periods of time

  • Set goals and rewards for yourself

  • Keep track of your progress with a Walking Journal

 

Think of your walk in three parts:

 

  1. Warm up by walking slowly for 5 minutes

  2. Walk for 30 minutes increasing your speed gradually

  3. Cool down by walking slowly again for 5 minutes