Walking as a fitness activity is growing popular among people of all age groups. Low risk and easy to start, walking has proved its health benefits in numerous studies. As per studies, people who walk 30 minutes a day have a significantly lower risk of premature death than those who rarely exercise.
A regular walking program can help:
• Lower blood cholesterol
• Decrease blood pressure
• Boost up cardiovascular endurance
• Strengthen bones
• Burn calories and keep weight down
An exercise like walking is one of the simplest things to start. All you need are comfortable clothes and a pair of shoes designed for walking.
Before you start off, begin with brief warm-up session and a few simple stretches to loosen up any tension that you may have built up. Because walking primarily works the major muscles of the legs, stretch your back, shoulders and arms to get the blood flowing to the muscles in all parts of the body. This will make your walk more effective and more enjoyable too.
If you are a first-timer or are starting to walk after a long break, keep in mind the following:
1. Walk short distances and gradually increase your distance. Begin with a five-minute stroll the first day, adding a few minutes daily.
2. Walk at a comfortable pace without worrying about the speed. Focus on good posture, keeping your head lifted and shoulders relaxed.
3. Swing your arms naturally, and breathe deeply. If you can’t catch your breath, slow down your pace. Avoid hills in the first few weeks of your walking schedule.
4. Make sure you can talk while walking. If you can’t, you are walking too fast.
When it comes to walking, there is no best schedule. There are numerous options that you can try. The main aim is to keep walking regularly. Once you reach a point where you can walk a few miles with relative ease, start to vary the intensity. Try walking uphill. This helps in increasing cardiovascular endurance in addition to toning the legs. Gradually lengthen your stride and increase your speed. To prevent sore muscles, include a few minutes relaxing stretches after each workout. Energize your workout by listening to lively music. Although there are no hard and fast rules for walking, a minimum of 20 minutes a day is recommended. If you cannot walk for 20 minutes at a stretch, you can take two 10-minute walks each day or even hour-long walks two to three times a week.