It’s easy to see why walking is the most popular physical activity among adults.
You don’t need special clothes.
There’s no equipment.
It costs nothing.
A regular walking program can provide many health benefits. It may lower your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. It can strengthen your bones and muscles. It can help you maintain a healthy weight and may help lift your mood.
Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity to reap significant health benefits. If you can’t do that now, pace yourself and work your way there gradually. Some exercise is better than none!
Whether you’re thinking about beginning a walking program, or if you’re already entrenched, here are a dozen quick tips:
1. Walk with a friend. You can motivate each other.
2. Walk when you have a break in your day. It could be during lunch, after dropping the kids off at school or practice, or at the end of your workday.
3. Make your walk fun by going to places you enjoy, like a shopping center or a park.
4. If it’s dark outside, wear a reflective vest or brightly colored clothing.
5. Set goals. Make them realistic. If 30 minutes every day is exhausting, try 15 on alternate days. Raise it by a few minutes each week. Increase gradually.
6. Wear the correct shoes. Make sure the padding is decent, the material is breathable and they’re flexible from heel to toe.
7. Dress the part. Your clothing should be loose, breathable, and comfortable. If it’s cold, wear layers, which are easier to peel off or add.
8. Keep track. If you’re into digital gadgets and apps that measure steps, distance and calories burned, use them if that motivates you. But be forgiving of yourself – don’t fret if you cut a workout short or miss one. Get ‘em tomorrow!
9. Drink water. Sounds simple, but you always want to fend off dehydration, which could be happening if you’re feeling tired, nauseated, confused, or dizzy. Drink before, during, and after a walk.
10. Plan different routes to combat boredom and challenge yourself. Find one with hills or something on a trail.
11. Walk to music that has a quicker tempo. There’s a reason group fitness classes blast power pop tunes!
12. End your walk with a gentle stretching session during your cool-down. Your muscles will thank you.
If you’re ready to get started with an exercise regime but aren’t sure where to start, visit your StarMed primary care physician to talk about the best options based on your current health!