How about this, walking exercise can be as good for you as swimming, running or the gym! To improve your health health & fitness, the Guardian newspaper swears by it and who are we to disagree when you take all factors like body impact, sense of wellbeing and cost effectiveness.
Walking exercise is low impact and as vigorous as you want it to be. Staying healthy is evermore important and people need to realise that regular exercise like walking or jogging will help you keep a trim body and keep off those pounds. So, if you don't fancy the gym to work, work up a sweat by walking to the shops or go further and sort yourself a walking holiday in the Lakes or mountains of Europe.
Walking exercise has a number of benefits, including:
- Aids weight loss
- Tones muscles
- Provides more energy
- Helps you sleep better
- Keeps your heart strong
- Helps to reduce stress
Walking can also help to protect you from a range of illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis and even bowel cancer.
As discussed, walking is an allround activity that's best done at your own pace and costs you nothing! It's worth you investing in a pair of sturdy walking shoes as good foot support is essential for long walks. Or find some running shoes that have a slightly heavier sole for walking in. But if you are likely to be walking over hilly or uneven ground a hiking boot with more support is recommended. Whichever type of shoe you choose it is important that it should have arch supports and should elevate the heel slightly. It is also important to dress appropriately. It is a good idea to wear layers which can be taken off as you begin to get warm. Carry a waterproof jacket with you at all times in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Be careful not to over exert yourself, especially if you have been sedentary for a while. Begin slowly - three walks of 10-20 minutes in your first week will probably be plenty. You can then build this up by taking longer and/ or more intensive walks.
Make the most of yor walking with the following guidelines:
- Your walk should be brisk - enough to make you feel slightly out of breath
- Allow arms to swing feely, remembering to bend them gently at the elbow
- Resist temptations to take longer strides - instead take smaller, quicker steps
- Walk tall
- Control your breathing - take full breaths and exhale completely
- When walking uphill lean into the hill and take smaller steps
- If you feel pain or dizziness slow down or stop
It is important to stay motivated. Try walking with a friend and varying your route. Also, set manageable targets week by week to gain a real sense of achievement!