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    Walking Editor:
    Joann Bally CSCS

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  • Walking Tips:

    To Start:

    Walking is an excellent form of exercise for people of all ages and abilities. Prepare for a walk by warming up, wearing the correct clothing and shoes, and making sure that you are well hydrated. Warm down after a walk.

  • See your doctor for a medical check-up before begining any new fitness program.
  • Walking is an excellent form of exercise for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Start gradually, increasing length and pace as you get used to it.
  • Warm-up
  • Don’t walk immediately after a big meal.
  • Build activity slowly - start with a 20 minute walk then increase gradually... at least three times per week.
  • Walk at a steady pace, swing your arms freely and stand as straight as possible and your feet should step in a rolling action from the heel to the toe.

  • Wear thick comfortable cotton socks and comfortable and lightweight shoes with arch support.
  • Wear suitable warm, light clothing in the winter and cool, comfortable clothes in the summer and be sure to not forget your sunscreen and hat.
  • Drink water before and after your walk and be sure to take water with you on your walk, especially in warmer weather.
  • Be sure to cool down after a longer fast walk and try a few stretching exercises afterwards.

    Read Some of Joann's Tips:

  • The minimum. Health authorities recommend at least 150 minutes a week of walking for health benefits. This is often simplified to 30 minutes, 5 days a week. You can do this 30 minutes all at once, or get similar results from two 15-minutes walks in the same day, or even three 10-minute walks.
  • Get your shoes. Sure, you can walk in Crocs or even flip-flops, but, for most of us, our feet and legs are happier in walking or running shoes. Walking shoes tend to be sturdy, all leather models, that lace up. If you are serious about walking and want to do some long, and/or fast walking, go with running shoes. They are lighter, more flexible, and better ventilated than walking shoes. You don’t need as much cushion as a runner does, so you can get something cheaper, with a lower heel profile. Keep them mostly for walking.
  • If the shoe fits. If the shoe fits, it will feel good in the store. Running or walking shoes do not “break in.” Buy your shoes late in the day, when your feet are normally a little swollen, and wear the type of socks you are going to wear for walking. Once you know a particular brand shoe and size fits you well, you can order it through the mail. Otherwise, go where you can try it on and walk around the store.
  • Socks. It’s important to wear socks that fit well—no wrinkles or holes—when you are walking. The wrong socks can give you blisters as well as the wrong shoes can. Wash new ones before you wear them.
  • Brisk walking. Recommendations often put the word “brisk” in front of the word “walking.” To get the most out of your walking activity, make it brisk, or at least, what is brisk to you. Don’t go as fast as you can, but push a little. Keep your walking posture intact. If you like specifics, brisk used to refer to 15-minute miles, but now I’ve seen 17 or even 20-minute miles called brisk. To check yourself, measure a mile on your car’s odometer, or do 4 laps of a quarter-mile track. Try again in a month and see if you are faster.
  • Walking farther. Maybe walking 5 times a week for 30 minutes as recommended doesn’t fit into your schedule or your preferences. You can always walk farther each time, and space it out some. Walk some every other day and make the rest up on the weekend. Do not leave everything for the weekend and just walk 150 minutes on Saturday. You need to do some walking at least every other day to keep up the health benefits.
  • Walking posture. Don’t look at your feet when you walk. You know where they are. Hold your head up and look a few yards ahead to watch out for obstacles. Be careful not to bend forward at the waist. Stand up straight and swing your arms normally.
  • Mall walking. Bad weather? Consider walking at a local covered mall. Some malls even encourage and sponsor walking groups. Get there early before the crowds and do your walking. You can shop afterwards.
  • Stretching. Walking tends to make your muscles a little tight. Do a couple of minutes of stretching after you walk. You really don’t have to stretch before, but you can if you want to.
  • Calories. As a rule-of-thumb, a 150-pound person burns about 100 calories when walking a mile. If you are lighter, you burn fewer calories for the distance; if you are heavier, you burn more. This means, if you weigh 150 and walk for 30 minutes at a 15-minute per mile pace, you will burn about 200 calories. If you do those 30 minutes at a 20-minute pace, you will burn 150. If you’re interested in burning the calories, and your fitness level doesn’t allow you to walk fast, walk farther, or more frequently.

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