Walking is one of the most effective forms of exercise that nearly everyone can do, even if it’s just in small doses. Not to mention that it’s FREE! Walking will help to improve your overall health and fitness, it’s also a great way to lose weight, tone your muscles, strengthen your heart and give you just a general good feeling along with some positive self-esteem.
Basically all you need is a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Even athletic shoes that are more than 6 months old may not have enough cushioning to support you. Here are some tips for picking out some shoes:
- Select shoes that are designed for walking. Running shoes are a good second choice, followed by cross training shoes.
- You want to pick a shoe that bends easily through the ball of the foot but remains fairly firm. A low heel works best, which is why a running shoe with thick cushioning in the heel is not the first choice when it comes to walking.
- Cushioned socks are also a good bet as they offer additional protection to your feet.
- Try to save your walking shoes for just that…not for grocery shopping or just running errands.
The average shoe lifespan for walking is 500 miles and for running 350 miles.
- Watch your posture, stand tall, and hold your head up with eyes forward. Your shoulders should be down, back and relaxed. It’s best to keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle.
- Take quicker steps, not longer. Your stride will lengthen as you speed up, but try not to force yourself into longer steps, this can lead to potential back problems.
How Far? How Much?It is suggested that you get at least 30 minutes of activity into each day for overall health.
· If you are walking for general health benefits, try to walk everyday for at least 30 minutes at a comfortable “talking” pace, meaning you can carry on a conversation.
· To improve cardiovascular fitness you should walk at least 3 days per week for 20-30 minutes at a very fast pace, where you are breathing hard, but not gasping for air.
· If you are walking for weight loss, you should walk a minimum of 5 days a week for 45-60 minutes at a brisk pace.