A walking regimen comes with many benefits; here’s how to reap them.
Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. It’s safe, simple, inexpensive, and doesn’t require practice. But during the winter months, many people tend to nix it from their routine. That doesn’t have to be the case.
When beginning a fitness walking program, it is important not to get discouraged. Most people start out with a brisk 10 minute walk, doing this every day for a week. When this becomes too easy, add five minutes to your walks each week until you are walking as long as desired.
“Your goal should be 30 minutes a day, five-days-a-week,” Dr. Hussain says. “Incorporate walking into your daily activities like taking the stairs or walking to run an errand.”
All you need is a good pair of walking shoes, comfortable clothing and a little motivation. The buddy system can also be helpful, as long as you are practicing social distancing and wearing face masks.
When determining a healthy pace, Dr. Hussain says you should be able to maintain a conversation with the person you are walking with, but your breathing should be heavier than normal.
Additional walking tips:
- Drink plenty of fluid; eight eight-ounce glasses a day is recommended
- Focus on your posture, aiming to stand tall and straight
- Incorporate a warm up, cool down and stretching
Many people don’t start a workout routine, because they associate it with working out hard almost every day of the week. However, Dr. Hussain says that starting small is often most beneficial.
“Don’t be afraid to start a mild to moderate exercise program. Any amount of walking is good,” Dr. Hussain reveals. “Research shows physical activity has a lot of health benefits.”
Health benefits from regular exercise include:
- Weight management
- Controlled blood pressure
- Lower risk of heart attack
- Higher ‘good’ cholesterol
- Reduced risk of stroke, cancer and diabetes
- Lower risk of osteoporosis
- Improved mood
- Less stress
- Better sleep