[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Walking has increased in popularity as a method of exercise and transportation over the past few years. Statistics show that if you’re going somewhere within a mile of your home, chances are that you’ll walk … especially if you have either sidewalks or paved roads. Unfortunately, we’re still not walking – or taking part in other physical activities – enough. Walking is the most popular aerobic activity with approximately 6 in 10 adults reporting that they walked for at least 10 minutes in the previous week. That’s something, but ten minutes is definitely not enough. It’s spring, what a beautiful time of the year to begin a new walking routine!
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh found that overweight people who walked briskly for 30 to 60 minutes a day lost weight even if they didn’t change any other lifestyle habits and researchers at the University of Colorado found that regular walking helped to prevent peripheral artery disease. Plus you get all the benefits of consistent aerobic exercise … and walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise. All you need is a good pair of shoes and the will to do it.
Where to start? A walking program is like any other activity, you need a plan to succeed. At the beginning you want to decide a basic goals for your walks and the methods you use to attain those goals. Then you can get to work!
• Start slow. Walk for 10 minutes, and walk back every day for a week. If you’re comfortable after a week add five minutes to your walk. Continue adding 5 minutes to each walk until you reach your goal.
• Hold your head up and eyes forward with your shoulders should be down and relaxed. Move forward with a natural stride.
• Drink plenty of water before, during, and after walking. Start with a slow, warm -up pace, pause and do a few warm up / flexibilty stretches. Walk for the desired length of time or distance and end the walk with the slower cool down. After your walk, do some stretches.
• Your walking pace should be fast enough that it’s hard to sing, yet slow enough that it’s to talk.
• Make daily walking a habit. Walk fast enough to reach your target heart rate, but not so much that you are gasping and unable to breathe. Motivate yourself by keeping a journal.
According to the American Heart Association, walking for at least 30 minutes a day:
• Reduces your risk of coronary heart disease.
• Improves your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
• Improves your blood lipid profile.
• Helps maintain your body weight and lower the risk of obesity.
• Enhances your mental well being.
• Reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
• Reduces the risk of developing breast and colon cancer.
• Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Walking … it’s easy and so good for you!
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[Written by Peter Nielsen].