Walking Routine: 4 Steps
Although walking doesn’t require expensive equipment or a gym membership, you should put some thought into creating a walking routine. By crafting a walking routine that fits your lifestyle and schedule, you are more likely to reach your weight loss goals.
Create a plan to reach realistic goals.
Ideally, you should exercise 150 minutes every week at a moderate intensity. Brisk walking for 30 minutes, five days a week, is one way to meet that goal.
However, if you’re just starting a walking routine, you should begin slowly. Your first trek out the door might only be 15 minutes total – and that’s OK. In fact, it’s smart. Pushing yourself too hard, too soon, can lead to injuries.
If you walk at least four times a week, fitness experts say you can increase the time you walk by five minutes each week.
Also, come up with an action plan once you know how often and how long you want to walk. Your action plan should include the days and times you’ll walk, the location and whether you have a walking partner.
Make sure you have the right shoes, clothing.
Don’t be tempted to pull out an old pair of sneakers for your walk. Your feet and ankles need good support for walking. Make sure your shoes fit properly. They should support your arch and have a well-cushioned heel. If your feet or shins hurt while you walk, it might be time for a new pair of shoes. Many people need extra wide shoes or orthotics to walk comfortably. If you’re not sure what kind of shoes you need, you can get fitted at a running store for walking shoes.
Being comfortable while you walk can also help you stay motivated. Wear the right jacket so you stay warm, but can still move your arms freely. A good pair of sunglasses to keep the sun’s glare out of your eyes is a must on bright winter days.
Warm up, cool down to prevent injuries.
Your walk should have three parts: a warm up, brisk walking and a cool down. Always spend the first five minutes of your walk warming up and the last five minutes cooling down. You can do this by slowly increasing your speed at the beginning of your walk and slowly decreasing at the end.
Proper form while walking will help you prevent injuries. Walk with your chin up and shoulders slightly back so you’re not hunched forward, looking at the ground. Your back should be straight. As you walk, your heel should touch the ground first before you roll your foot forward. Your arms should swing naturally in sync with your gait.
Extend your walking time, intensity.
While you should always set aside five minutes to warm up and five minutes to cool down, you can extend the time in between to increase your workout. A good rule of thumb is to extend your walk by 5 minutes each week if you’re walking at least four times a week.
If you start out walking 15 minutes at a time, you can safely work your way to a 60-minute walk in five months.
Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
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