Walking is a low-impact activity that is safe, easy on the body, and natural. It can also provide tremendous health benefits, including lowering your bad cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein or LDL; raising your good cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein or HDL; lowering blood pressure; reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes; helping control type-2 diabetes for those who already have it; controlling weight; improving balance and overall fitness. Also, studies found that regular, brisk walking reduces the risk of having a heart attack as much as doing more intense cardio workouts such as running.
Even though the risk of injuries is much less when waling than running or other high impact activities, it is still important to be properly prepared. As mentioned previously, don’t skimp on protecting your feet. Buy a good pair of walking shoes that are comfortable, offer arch support, and thick but flexible soles. Try to avoid buying shoes online; it’s better to go to a store where you can try them on and walk around to make sure they fit properly.
When you walk, wear appropriate clothing. Many people who walk in the early mornings or early evening should wear layers so they can add or take off shirts or jackets as the weather changes. When walking at dusk or later in the evening, use reflective tape so drivers can see you. And try to wear something colorful instead of black, which will also make you easier to be seen.
Walk at a slow pace for a few minutes to let the muscles warm up. Then do a gentle stretch of your thigh, hamstring, and calf muscles. , If you are just starting to walk and have not been otherwise exercising, take it easy and slowly build up your endurance. Set a goal is to walk for at least a half hour, three to five times a week. But the longer you walk, the more benefits you’ll see. Check your heart rate to make sure you are walking fast enough to get your heart rate up.
As with any exercise, it’s important to set realistic goals. The beauty of walking is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. But research shows that people who exercise first thing in the morning are more likely to stick with it for the long haul. Also, having a walking buddy will also help keep you motivated. Lastly, if you walk alone, make sure to let someone know where you’re going.