Benefits of walking
Walking is the single most effective exercise that one can incorporate into their exercise regime because the benefits are amass. Additionally, those who do it can save hundreds or thousands over the course of their lifetime in gym memberships and diet pills.
The benefits of this low impact, safe and free exercise are unquestionably amazing. A brisk walk can lower one’s LDL level; this is the level of bad cholesterol within your body. Likewise, it can increase your HDL-the good cholesterol in your body. Walking is a great way to lower blood pressure, as well as reducing your risk of diabetes. Studies continually prove that walking can elevate your moods as well. Walking also strengthens your muscles and bones, making you less at risk for osteoporosis and arthritis.
Once you have made the commitment to start walking, there are a few things you should put into place before you begin. One of the most important things to consider is your dress and footwear. Wear comfortable, loose clothing (not so loose that your pants are dragging, as this could cause you to trip or fall). Choose appropriate footwear. There are many choices; running, walking and cross-training. Choose the most comfortable but be sure that the footwear is arch supporting and the proper size. The addition of custom made orthotics may help alleviate foot, knee and low back pain.
Begin each walk being hydrated. Our bodies are made up of approximately 80% water and need to be hydrated in order to function well. H20 flushes toxins and carries nutrients to our cells. Normally, it is recommended that people drink 8-8ounce glasses of water per day. But this should be increased considerably when doing any type of exercise.
Warm up before beginning your walk (or any physical activity). Take 5-10 minutes to stretch all the different muscles in your legs, including your hamstrings and gluts. Begin with 1/4 head and arm circles for a few seconds or until you feel limber (about 10 to 15 circles each). Next, stretch your hips by stepping back with one foot, bending at the knee while shifting your weight to the opposite side of your hip (lunges). Do this for both sides a few times. Remember to also incorporate calf and quad stretches as well, using a sturdy wall for support.
It’s also a good idea to eat a small snack before your walk, particularly if you are walking in the morning because your blood sugar will be lower. Eat a banana which is loaded with potassium or a power bar for energy.
Now that you are ready, the biggest question still needs to be answered. How much should you walk every day? This will vary depending on many things. Wearing a pedometer is a great tool that you can attach to your legs and it counts each step you take. The fitness powers that be recommend walking 10,000 steps per day to maintain weight. Start wherever you are comfortable. If you don’t wish to count steps, the recommended amount of walking is 30-60 minutes of brisk walking 3-5 times per week. This may be difficult for beginners, so begin with 10 or 15 minutes per walk a couple times per week and gradually increase until you reach the recommended minutes and days.