If you are trying to lose some weight, build your muscle mass or just want to keep as mobile and fit as possible, walking is one of the best exercises you could undertake – maybe THE best. As with any exercise routine there is a right way to undertake a walking regime.
Before you start walking for exercise it is wise to warm up before starting out. Warming up helps to make the muscles more flexible keeping you from over-straining them. To stretch the Achilles tendon, stand about 3 feet from a wall. Place your feet flat on the ground. Put your hands out to lean against the wall then stand back and repeat several times.
Do a few knee bends. Bend over and touch your toes (if you can – but do not strain to do so). Twist your body from the waist down in a slow circular motion, as if you were using a hula-hoop. Once you have a warm-up routine keep to it each time before you start out your walk.
The first thing to do is check with your chiropractor as he or she will advise the best routine for you personally. On your first outing start walking at a comfortable pace, but slow down if you are breathing hard. Do not tire yourself out. If 20 minutes is too much for you then cut back to 15 or 10 minutes or you can try two10 minute walks during the same day. As you get used to the regime you can increase the time and pace as your body adapts to the exercise.
Move at a steady pace so that your heart beats faster and you are breathing more deeply. Keep your back straight, head erect and your abdomen flat. Your knees should be slightly bent as you walk and swing your arms firmly at your sides. As you walk, land on your heel, roll your foot forward and push off on the ball of the foot for the next step. When you first start out your walking regime keep to a level surface and avoid steep hills. Wear reflective clothing if you walk at night.
Cool down with a slow stroll after a long brisk walk to help pump blood up from your legs to where your body needs it.
Walking is a sure way to fitness! If you have been inactive for a long period or need to reduce weight without strenuous activity, walking is an excellent way to begin an exercise program. A good exercise program begins with moderation and dedication, especially dedication if you expect to see results.
Walking strengthens your heart and lungs, improves circulation and reduces weight and blood pressure, which in turn can help to prevent heart attack and stroke. Walking boosts your metabolism, improves muscle tone in the legs and abdomen. It can also reduce stress and tension and can stop bone tissue decay.
Walking is very rewarding for your body and can be done almost anywhere and at any time all year long. It can add happy, healthy years to your life and should be made a part of your daily routine.
Most important is to wear the right type of footwear to avoid blistering or discomfort while you are walking. Choose a good quality lightweight shoe with a hard sole and breathable upper material of leather or nylon mesh. The heel area should be very firm and forefoot flexible, but still support the foot. Fitting is very important for both length and width. Have your shoes fitted with the socks you will be using. Cotton socks are best as they allow your feet to breathe. Avoid tight socks that may hinder circulation. Fitting should take place late in the afternoon as feet usually swell during the day and may affect shoe size and fitting.
Make sure the shoes are snug, but not tight, with plenty of room to move your toes. Shoe width must be comfortable across the ball of your foot and make sure the arch is well supported. The heel area should be properly cushioned and not bite into the heel or touch the ankle bones. Improper fitting may lead to sores, toe deformities, blisters or callouses.
Never go barefoot, even at the beach; wear sandals or sneakers. Love your feet as you need them and they need you!