A Guide To Walking Towards Health And Fitness…

Walking Towards Health And Fitness, when it comes to personal fitness you don’t start at day 100. You don’t start at day ten either, you start right at the beginning of day one when you get up that morning. For a lot of people that day one never even comes because in the process of researching and getting ready, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the available fitness options, workouts, the cost of exercise equipment, and all the different voices screaming “Pick me, pick me! I have the solution you’re looking for, don’t listen to that other guy!” that want you to buy their get thin quick product or fad diet plan. If you’re really serious about getting started with your weight loss, you need to start looking at day one and the first steps you can make by walking for your health.

Walking Towards Health And Fitness
Walking Towards Health And Fitness

Why walking?

Well, at its core it’s because walking is easy, low impact, and stress free. It’s a good introductory exercise with a low barrier of entry. Almost anyone can do it even if you’re overweight or not really ready for a hardcore diet plan or exercise routine. It’s such a simple plan that just about anyone who isn’t suffering from an immobilizing injury or fitness restriction can get started with it. The best part is that it has real results for the level of effort you have to put into it. You don’t strain your body like an aerobic workout or fitness video, but you still see calories burned because you’re at least getting out there and getting some exercise for yourself. It’s easy and has attainable rewards, which makes it a great choice for everyone.

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How to Walk

That might seem like a bit of a strange statement considering you’ve been walking all your life, but it’s time to take a look at not just walking, but walking for your health and to help get fit. You’re not just travelling from point A to point B with walking for fitness, you’re doing it with the purpose of getting the most out of the time you spend exercising. Getting from point A to point B is just a means to that end. When you decide to start walking for your health, your first step is to…

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Decide when and where to walk!

This is an important part of walking because you don’t get much from just going back and forth in your living room. Deciding where you’re going to take your walks is an important factor in how effective they are because it essentially decides the level of effort and difficulty you face on your walks. When you look at your available choices of places to walk, you need to look at three things:

  • Accessibility
  • Availability
  • Terrain

Looking at the accessibility of an area that you’re walking to is basically looking at how easy it is to get there. If you’re just heading out and around the block it should be easy to get to where you want to walk, but if where you live doesn’t have easy access to a safe space to enjoy your walks, you may want to consider finding a local walking trail or nature park to head to.

Walking Towards Health And Fitness - Fun Run
Walking Towards Health And Fitness – Fun Run

In addition to your walking route’s accessibility you’re going to want to look at how available it is based on time of day. Of course you’re going to want to walk whenever you’re free, but if your favorite local park closes on particular days of the week or a local recreation centre with a good track isn’t open late in the afternoon, you’ll have to plan around your schedule and availability.

Last but definitely not least you’re going to want to look at what the areas you’re going to be walking in look like. If you’re just getting started with your walking you’re probably not going to want to pick a hiking or walking trail with a lot of rolling hills. Depending on whether you’re just starting out with short walks or are looking for something longer and more challenging will determine what kind of place you’re going to be looking for to walk in.

What do I need to get started?

Well the great thing about walking is that, really, all you need is your own two feet and the drive to get out there and walk, but you can make your walking more comfortable and effective if you have a few things available for while you’re walking.

[easyazon_link keywords=”Proper Walking Shoes” locale=”US” tag=”glocaszon-20″]Proper Walking Shoes[/easyazon_link]

These are arguably the most important part of your walking equipment, considering they’re going to be taking the brunt of the impact of your exercise. The most important things to consider when choosing a shoe for walking is their comfort, support, and durability. Depending on how long your walks are you’re going to want to choose shoes that are comfortable that have good arch support. That way you don’t cause damage to your feet with longer walks and comfortable, supportive shoes will feel nice to wear without causing soreness or strain. You also want to wear them for a while before you go walking to make sure they have room for your foot shape and your toes without causing them to be cramped.

If they don’t have insoles in them that offer support, consider picking out some insoles that work for you. Wal-mart has Dr. Scholl’s custom fit orthotics machines that map your feet and tell you which of their insoles will work best for how your feet are built. However those are kind of dear (about $60 a pair) so you could just get your foot type measurement and check for discounts on Amazon. Regardless, make sure that the shoes that you pick for walking are durable. Admittedly this will only matter for cheap shoes, but you still don’t want to pick up a more expensive pair of shoes that falls apart within a few months!

[easyazon_link keywords=”Fitness Clothes” locale=”US” tag=”glocaszon-20″]Fitness Clothes[/easyazon_link]

This is another good pick for walking, but is not necessarily required to get the most out of your walking. Depending on the climate where you live and the season you’re walking in you may want to pick up something that fits the weather well. Go for something light and breathable during warmer months like shorts and a mesh tee or tank and warmer more insulated clothing during winter. Under Armour and similar underclothes work well under regular clothes if you have a little extra to spend on it and can find some in your size.

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One thing that you don’t want to miss out on is a way to stay hydrated while walking. Even if walking is low strain and low impact, you still don’t want to run into the risks of dehydration, muscle cramps, and heat related illness or injury while you’re walking and this is especially true in the summer months. A good way to keep yourself hydrated is to simply carry a water bottle with you when you go out walking. You could just buy cases of water but that can get to be expensive, making a permanent water bottle a more cost-effective option. There are many different kinds of bottles out there so you have a wide selection to choose from.

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If you don’t mind plain water you can just get a regular bottle or an infuser bottle if you prefer fruit juice flavour. If you’re looking for filtered water, Brita (and other filtration companies) have bottles with filters built right into the lid as you drink. Another option is the CamelBak hands free hydration system (or similar products) that are just a backpack with a tube to sip from so you can carry your water on your back with you. In any case, make sure that you have a way to stay hydrated while you’re out and moving.

[easyazon_link keywords=”Fitness Trackers” locale=”US” tag=”glocaszon-20″]Fitness Trackers[/easyazon_link]

If you get one thing that you plan to keep throughout your weight loss journey, make it a fitness tracker. These include something as simple as a pedometer for counting your steps and gauging your exercise progress to fitness apps your phone, but if you want something that will stay with you for all kinds of exercise it’s better to go with an actual fitness tracker like the Fitbit, Jawbone, or any other similar trackers.

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These are a great way to track and monitor your progress as you move from simple walking to more strenuous exercise but will work great through all stages of your weight loss.

Walking Towards Health And Fitness - Sunset
Walking Towards Health And Fitness – Sunset

Walking Health and Safety

Even with a low strain and impact exercise like walking it’s still important to follow basic fitness safety practices and that means stretching out before every exercise. If you want to reduce the risk of injury and strain it’s important to stretch your legs and back, though general stretching is advisable in any case.

Walking Towards Health And Fitness - Stretching Exercises
Walking Towards Health And Fitness – Stretching Exercises

Hamstrings – A good start is to stretch your ankle and hamstrings. Try sitting just on a chair or seat’s edge with your leg extended and the heel just in the floor. Point your toes up and lean into that leg, you should feel the pull on your hamstrings pull as you lean. When you’re done with one leg, swap over to the other.

Calves – Since you put the majority of the strain on your legs it’s a good idea to stretch them as much as possible. You can get some good calf stretches by standing with one leg straight and slightly behind you. Support yourself on a chair and lunge slowly forward with the other leg until you feel the calf muscle stretching. Swap and repeat.

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Leg Swings – This is a good one for stretching out your hips and the rest of your legs. Stand on one leg and use a chair to support yourself as you swing your suspended leg forward and back like a pendulum. Switch legs and repeat.

In addition to those more targeted stretches, it’s a good idea to do some general stretching and bending (toe touches, etc.) just to get the blood flowing so you’re ready for your walk!

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If you found this article useful – Walking Towards Health And Fitness – Please share with your friends and any people you think might find the information beneficial; many thanks, Natural Health Kingdom.

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