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Health and Fitness News

Walk Wise

Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple with walking.

Gym memberships, expensive equipment, and rooms full of watching eyes are a few things that keep people from exercise. When things start to get complicated or come with too many risks, people give up or shy away. Walking, on the other hand, is simple and straightforward. Indoors or outdoors, alone or with a partner, the only special equipment needed is a decent pair of shoes

Even if you’re 100 pounds overweight or haven’t exercised in years, walking is a great best place to start or continue your exercise journey. Especially when incorporated with other regular exercise, walking is a fantastic way to get and stay in shape. Not sure how to make walking work for you? Here are a few tips.

What to Wear

When you decide to become a walker, plan to wear comfortable clothes that are easy to move around in. The most important equipment needed for walking is a good pair of shoes. And don’t be afraid of spending a little extra on shoes that offer good support for your shape of foot. Proper support for your feet keeps the rest of your body aligned and balanced. Without the right shoes, your feet, legs, and back may suffer. Look for shoes that offer stability, comfort, and flexibility.

To get the right fit, visit a running shoe store with trained employees who will examine the arch of your foot and the way your foot touches the ground. Some people’s feet roll inward (pronation) and some roll outward (supination). You may have a high arch or no arch at all. The best type of shoe to wear is one that makes up for over pronation and supports the arch of your feet.

When to Walk

Once you’ve got the right shoes, it’s time to figure out when to hit the trails. The great thing is that walking can be done any time you have time. Just find a time of day that works for your schedule and lifestyle, whether in the morning before the day gets busy, on your lunch break, or in the evening when the weather cools off.

If walking is your main form of exercise, plan to walk at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Where to Walk

Another benefit of walking is that it can be done in a variety of places. For an indoor workout, walk on a treadmill or around the mall. If outdoors, walk around the neighborhood or on a community greenway, hiking trail, or school track. Change the location every once in a while to prevent getting bored.

How to Walk

You’ve been doing it all your life, so you probably have a good idea what you’re doing. But how do you turn walking into an exercise that helps you maintain good health? If you’re out of shape, walk slowly for a short distance. As your fitness improves, walk faster for longer distances. Before each workout, start with a five-minute warm-up and end each workout with a five minute cool-down. For increased fitness gains, add hills or intervals to your route and alternate between a brisk pace and a moderate pace.

Of course, you don’t want to get sloppy. Walking with proper form will help you get the most out of your walk and protect you from injury. When walking, keep your head up and your eyes on the horizon in front of you. Keep your shoulders relaxed but not hunched forward, and engage your abs to support your body. Bend your arms at 90 degrees, keep them close to your body, and let your arms freely swing back and forth in step with your feet. Keep your hands in a relaxed position, and gently land on your heel with each step, rolling toward your toes. Push off each step with the balls of your feet and your toes.

Do this regularly, and you’ll walk your way to a healthier, happier you!

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