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Walking: The Easiest Free Workout

09-09-2016

Walking is a simple and inexpensive exercise that has been shown to offer numerous benefits for bones, muscles and joints, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. While the hardest part of any workout routine may be simply getting started, walking requires only minimal preparation and yields significant results.

In a recent news release, the Academy suggests that people just starting a walking workout establish a routine by incorporating at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week. Other suggestions include:

  • Wear shoes that support the arch and elevate the heel slightly, with stiff material surrounding the heel to prevent foot wobbling. The toe area should be roomy but not too long.
  • Warm up by walking at a normal pace for 5 minutes, then boost your pace so your heart beats faster and your lungs breathe deeper. Keep up the faster pace for about 15 minutes.
  • While walking: swing your arms; keep your head up, back straight, and abdomen flat; point your toes straight ahead; and take long strides, but do not strain. Cool down by walking at your warm-up speed again for 5 more minutes and do gentle stretching after your walk.
  • Start off by doing this type of walking three or four days a week with rest days in between. After two weeks, add 5 minutes to the strenuous part of your walk. Keep adding 5 minutes every two weeks as you gradually build strength and endurance.
  • Give your upper body a workout while walking by carrying a 1- to 5-pound weight in each hand.
  • Using walking sticks or poles can improve lower body stability and reduce stress on legs, knees, ankles and feet.
  • Drink enough water to prevent dehydration: 1 pint of water 15 minutes before you start your walk and another pint after you cool down. Drink water every 20 minutes or as needed while exercising.
Categories: Simply Healthy