You know what a walking program can do for you. It’s healthy, it’s easy and you don’t need any special equipment to get started. But when you’re feeling good about walking, how can you keep it up? And how can you make sure the experience gets better over time? We’ve got the answers for you!
Get Your Walking Gear
The first thing you need to do is get your walking gear together. Whether you’re going on a short 20 minute walk or a long 2 hour hike, there are some essentials that every outdoor enthusiast should have:
- A good pair of shoes – You don’t want to be wearing your old high heels or flip flops for this activity. Instead, invest in a pair of hiking boots or running shoes that provide support and comfort while walking long distances.
- Clothes that are comfortable yet breathable – If it’s hot outside, make sure to wear lightweight clothing like shorts and t-shirts; if it’s cold out (and if we’re lucky enough to live somewhere where winter exists), bring along thick pants and jackets so that you aren’t freezing while catching some rays during those rare moments when the sun makes an appearance over the horizon.
- Sunscreen – Even though it’s wintertime now (or just plain cold) remember that UV rays can still penetrate through clouds and ice crystals; if not slathered with sunscreen from head-to-toe then at least put on some lip balm with SPF protection under those sunglasses!
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Schedule Your Walks
Schedule Your Walks
You should walk at the same time every day, whether it’s morning or evening. Choose a time that works best for you, but try to make it consistent—no matter what.
Also, choose a route that is convenient for you and your schedule. You could go for several miles each day if you like; however, most people would prefer to walk between one and three miles per session. It may take some experimentation before you hit on an ideal walking program that works well with your lifestyle and fitness goals.
The warm-up helps to prepare your body for exercise and reduce the risk of injury. The kind of warm up you do depends on what you are doing, but some general guidelines include:
- Warming up your muscles with some gentle stretching.
- Starting at a slow pace, then gradually increasing speed and intensity over time as your body becomes more warmed up and ready for the workout. For example, if you are going to walk for 30 minutes per day, start at 5 minutes per week (30 divided by 5 = 6 weeks) for each week until reaching 30 minutes per day.
- Always check with a healthcare professional before starting an exercise program or changing how much or how often you exercise.
- Ensure that you are wearing comfortable shoes. You don’t have to have the latest Nike sneaker or specially-made running shoes. Just make sure that your shoes fit properly and don’t cause blisters or other foot issues.
- Walk at a brisk pace for at least 10 minutes (up to 30 minutes). If you aren’t used to walking, start out with short walks of about 5-10 minutes and then slowly increase your time as you become more comfortable with it. It’s important not to overdo it when starting out; it may be tempting but try not to push yourself too hard during this initial phase!
- Walk on flat surfaces whenever possible, such as sidewalks and parks without hills or uneven terrain which could lead to injury if not careful enough when walking around these areas.* Finally, try finding local trails where you can walk with other people in order
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Cool down and Stretch
Cool down: After you’ve completed your walk, it’s important to cool down for 5 minutes. When you walk faster than normal for a prolonged period of time (like during a long-distance race), your blood vessels widen to supply the muscles and tissues with oxygen (which helps them work more efficiently).
When you stop exercising, your heart rate slows and blood returns to normal levels—unless you cool down by walking at a slower pace or stopping abruptly after running or other intense physical activity.
During this transition stage, which lasts about 10 minutes, your body needs extra time to get used to its new state of restfulness. Stopping abruptly can cause dizziness and even fainting if there is an excess amount of blood flowing through the veins in my brain; this is because my pumps are getting tired from trying so hard while I’m active!
In addition, by cooling down slowly instead of stopping suddenly after intense exercise, you’re less likely risk injury from overstretching muscles that have become stiff from exercise-induced endorphins (those feel-good chemicals released by our brain during exercise).
Put it All Together — One Week of Walking Workouts
- Schedule your week. The best way to get started is by setting a schedule and following it. Here’s an example:
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday
- Walk 10 minutes with a brisk pace on a treadmill or outside
- Do two sets of 20 pushups (or other upper body exercises) and two sets of 15 squats (or other lower body exercises) after each walk
Make walking a part of your everyday routine and you’ll feel better.
- Walking is one of the easiest ways to get exercise. You can do it anywhere, at any time, and it requires little equipment.
- Regular exercise can help you keep your weight down and improve your health.
- It also relieves stress, which helps you sleep better at night.
Now that you’ve got your walking routine down, it’s time to get out there and start logging some miles. You can do it!