popularity of walking as a fitness activity is
growing by leaps and bounds. Low risk and easy
to start, walking has proved its health benefits
in numerous studies. An
eight-year study of 13,000 people found that
those who walked 30 minutes a day had a significantly
lower risk of premature death than those who
A regular walking
program can help:
- Reduce blood cholesterol.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Increase cardiovascular endurance.
- Boost bone strength.
- Burn calories and help keep weight down.
A walking program is simple to start. All
you need are comfortable clothes and shoes. Layer
loose clothing, keeping in mind that exercise elevates
the body’s temperature. Shoes specifically
designed for walking are best.
Every workout should begin with a brief warm-up and a few simple stretches. Walk
around the house or in a place for a few minutes to get the blood flowing to
the muscles before you attempt to stretch them. Although walking primarily
works the major muscles of the legs, don’t forget to stretch your back,
shoulders, and arms. This will help loosen any tension you may be carrying
and make your walk more enjoyable as well as more effective.
Beginning walkers can make their workouts less
strenuous by limiting how fast and far they walk.
Keep in mind the following:
- Walk short distances. Begin with a
five-minute stroll and gradually increase your
- Forget about speed. Walk at a comfortable
pace. Focus on good posture, keeping
your head lifted and shoulders relaxed.
- Swing your arms naturally and breathe deeply. If
you can’t catch your breath, slow down
or avoid hills.
- Be sure you can talk while walking. If
you can’t converse, you are walking to
Walking is one fitness activity that allows you
numerous options. Once you have reached
a point where you can walk a few miles with relative
ease, you can start to vary the intensity. Walking
hills, in addition to increasing your cardiovascular
endurance, is a great way to tone the legs. Concentrate
on lengthening your stride or increasing your
speed. And don’t forget to reward
yourself after each workout with a few minutes
of relaxing stretches to help prevent sore muscles.
Listening to your favorite music while you walk
is also a great way to energize your workout.
But if you wear headphones, keep the volume down
and watch out for traffic that you may not hear.
Rebecca Meyer, President, and Founder,
941-361-1185 Phone 941-361-1186 Fax
FitPlanet Wellness and Multisport Training