Walking is perhaps the easiest way to take care of your health. With just 30 minutes of walking on a daily basis, most people can improve cardiovascular fitness, reduce excess body fat, strengthen bones and enhance muscle power.
And for others who may be predispositioned to certain health conditions, walking can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and even some cancers.
Having said that, ‘easiest’ does not only apply to health benefits catered by walking. It also happens to be a free-of-cost way of improving health. There are no expensive price tags attached to walking, the practice doesn’t demand rigorous training and can be done without the use of any special equipment.
Plus, it is a low impact exercise that is not bound by time constraints. You can go out for a walk whenever you feel like it even though there are some suggestions regarding more suitable timings for walking for weight loss. But that comes later.
Nothing technical here, just a few ideas to get you going. Some of these you might have thought of yourself already, others can come in handy as useful suggestions to make the walk a more comfortable experience. Simple suggestions to get started are:
- Before starting a walking routine it is better that you see your doctor. Walking is not unhealthy for your body at all. However, sometimes joint pains and cardiovascular diseases get worse with exertion. Even during the walk keep a lookout for danger signs like chest pain, constricted breathing etc.
Assign a specific time - You need to assign a specific time of the day to your workout. This will make sure that you walk daily without interruptions. Try to devise your workout in accordance with your normal routine so that it can be easily incorporated without any inconvenience.
Break your walk into intervals - If you find walking for one long spell very challenging you can break your walk into smaller sessions. A 20-minute walk can be broken into two 10-minutes sessions or four 5-minute sessions. Dividing the sessions will not decrease the effectiveness of your walk. It will also make it easier to fulfill your daily walk goals.
Frequency per week - Walking is not a very intense exercise. Therefore, most people are able to walk daily. However, a beginner should start with 3 days per week and increase the number of days to 5 or 6 later on. Also, do not underestimate the importance of rest. Give yourself a day or two to recover and rejuvenate.
Vary the terrain - Try to add a few uphill walks into your routine as well. Go for a hike or walk on the beach every weekend. Not only will it make your exercise less monotonous but it will also build more endurance.
Your shoes are the most important factor in a smooth walk. Buy shoes that are comfortable, light and relatively flat. The soles of the shoes should be soft and the heels a bit firm. Buy one size larger than your usual shoes as your feet tend to swell after exercise.
Wear clothes that have moisture absorbing qualities to keep you dry and chafe-free. Also, put on some socks to protect your feet from blisters and unnecessary friction.