Walking to a Healthier Lifestyle

walking

Benefits of Walking

Walking for Weight Loss

Walking is one of the easiest ways to exercise. You can do it almost anywhere
and at any time. Walking is also inexpensive. All you need is a pair of
comfortable shoes. Walking will: Give you more energy, make you feel good, help
you to relax, reduce stress, help you sleep better, tone your muscles, help
control your appetite, increase the number of calories your body uses. For all
these reasons, people have started walking programs. If you would like to start
your own program, read and follow the information provided here.

Answer
the following questions before you begin a walking program:

If you answer yes to any of these questions, please check with your doctor
before starting a walking program or other form of exercise.

  • Has your doctor ever told you that you have heart trouble?
  • Has your doctor ever toldWhen you exercise, do you have pains in your chest
    or on your left side (neck, shoulder or arm)? you that you have heart trouble?
  • Do you often feel faint or have dizzy spells?
  • Do you feel extremely breathless after mild activity?
  • Has your doctor told you that you have high blood pressure?
  • Has your doctor told you that you have bone or joint problems, like
    arthritis, that could get worse if you exercise?
  • Are you over 50 years old and not use to a lot of exercise?
  • Do you have a condition or physical reason not mentioned here that might
    interfere with an exercise program?

How
Do I Start a Walking Program?

It is important to design a program that will work for you. In planning your
walking program, keep the following points in mind:

  • Choose a safe place to walk. Find a partner or group of people to walk with
    you. Your walking partner(s) should be able to walk with you on the same
    schedule and at the same speed.
  • Wear shoes with thick flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb
    shock.
  • Wear clothes that are right for the season. Cotton clothes for the summer
    help to keep you cool by absorbing sweat and allowing it to evaporate. Layer
    your clothing in the winter, and as you warm up, you can take off some layers.
  • Stretch before you walk. See the warm up exercises here.
  • Think of your walk in three parts. Walk slowly for 5 minutes. Increase your
    speed for the next 5 minutes. Finally, to cool down, walk slowly again for 5
    minutes.
  • Try to walk at least three times per week. Add 2 to 3 minutes per week to
    the fast walk. If you walk less than three times per week, increase the fast
    walk more slowly.
  • To avoid stiff or sore muscles or joints, start gradually. Over several
    weeks, begin walking faster, going further, and walking for longer periods of
    time.
  • The more you walk, the better you will feel. You also use more calories.

Safety
Tips

Keep safety in mind when you plan your route and the time of your walk.

  • Walk in the daytime or at night in well-lighted areas.
  • Walk in a group at all times.
  • Notify your local police station of your group’s walking time and route.
  • Do not wear jewelry.
  • Do not wear headphones.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.

How
Do I Warm Up?

Before you start to walk, do the stretching exercises shown here. Remember
not to bounce when you stretch. Perform slow movements and stretch only as far
as you feel comfortable.

  • Side Reaches
  • Reach one arm over your head and to the side. Keep your hips steady and your
    shoulders straight to the side. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other
    side.
  • Wall Push
  • Lean your hands on a wall with your feet about 3-4 feet away from the wall.
    Bend one knee and point it toward the wall. Keep your back leg straight with
    your foot flat and your toes pointed straight ahead. Hold for 10 seconds and
    repeat with the other leg.
  • Notify your local police station of your group’s walking time and route.
  • Knee Pull
  • Lean your back against a wall. Keep your head, hips, and feet in a straight
    line. Pull one knee to your chest, hold for 10 seconds, then repeat with the
    other leg.
  • Leg Curl
  • Pull your foot to your buttocks with your opposite hand. Keep your knee
    pointing straight to the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other
    foot.

Taking
the First Step

Walking right is very important.

  • Walk with your chin up and your shoulders held slightly back.
  • Walk so that the heel of your foot touches the ground first. Roll your
    weight forward.
  • Walk with your toes pointed forward.
  • Swing your arms as you walk.

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