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.