There are so many reasons walking is beneficial for you. Not only does it help in maintaining and losing weight, it also assists with managing and preventing certain serious ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.
It also helps to strengthen bones and muscles, and improves balance and coordination.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your walking, Mayo Clinic knows just how you can:
1. Improve your technique
There’s a difference between a normal walk and a fitness stride. If you’re not sure what a ‘fitness stride’ is, implement these changes the next time you’re walking:
- Keep your head up. Make sure you’re looking up and not at the ground.
- Make sure your neck, shoulders and back are not tense. Relax!
- Your arms should be able to swing freely and there should be a slight bend in your elbows.
- With your back straight, your tummy muscles should feel slightly tight.
- Make sure it’s a smooth walk and that you are rolling your foot from heel to toe.
2. Plan your regimen
A little planning goes a long way towards getting the most out of a workout. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Invest in the correct workout gear. Make sure your shoes offer enough support for the arches of your feet and that the soles are flexible and thick enough to absorb shock. Your exercise clothes should be comfortable and practical. If you’re walking at night, wear reflective clothing. (If you do walk at night, walk with a companion in well-lit areas where there are lots of people.)
- Because your head should be up while you’re walking, make sure you choose a course that offers even paving. In planning your course you can also measure how far you’ll be walking and keep track of your progress.
- Warming up before any form of exercise is important. Walk slowly for about 10 minutes before you push yourself.
- Cooling down is equally as important. Slow down the pace in the last 10 minutes of your session to help your muscles cool down.
- Stretch! It will help prevent stiffness, which your body will thank you for the next day.