"Of all exercises walking is the best." –Thomas Jefferson
Is something missing from your health and wellness routine? Perhaps you watch what you eat and painstakingly read your personal care labels, but what about a regular fitness regimen?
Worried about it being too high impact or overly complicated? That’s why walking is such an excellent option. Walking. . .
• Doesn’t require practice.
• Yields the same benefits as high-intensity, high-impact exercise (like running) but doesn’t create as much stress on knee joints.
• Can also be done almost anywhere (tracks, treadmills, malls, hiking trails, neighborhood) without involving much equipment (just a good pair of shoes with a well-cushioned heel, good arch support, adequate toe room, and flexible slip-resistant soles).
• Reduces stress.
• Helps improve posture.
• Lowers blood pressure.
• Strengthens bones.
• Improves mood and self-esteem through the release of endorphins.
• Is successful for long-term weight control.
• Decreases “bad cholesterol” and increases “good cholesterol.”
• Develops muscle tone and strength.
• Raises metabolism.
• Depletes fat stores.
• Reduces risk of Type II diabetes.
• Helps prevent physical disability in older people.
• Stimulates intellectual creativity and problem solving.
• Relieves backaches and stiffness.
• Promotes good, restful sleep.
• Helps control addictions to nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs.
And these are just a few reasons for walking! If you’re receptive to walking, here are some
tips and tidbits:
Safety Precautions for Walkers
Stretch after a short warm-up and after walking to prevent injuries and increase flexibility.
Start off slow and gradually increase your speed and distance.
If you are walking in the heat, take a water bottle along to prevent dehydration.
Wear brightly colored clothes so drivers can see you.
Walk in a safe, well-lit environment.
If you walk outside, note that evenings and mornings are best for avoiding extreme heat and humidity.
If possible, use sidewalks; if not, walk in the opposite direction of traffic and as close to the curb as possible.
Vary your routes to prevent boredom, and if you are walking alone, be sure to tell someone which route you’re taking.
Types of Walking
There are basically three types of walking: strolling, brisk, and race. Good posture is required for each, so be sure to look straight ahead with your chin up and move your arms in a natural rhythm, either swinging at your sides or bent at a 90 degree angle.
Strolling: A rate of about 2-3 mph with arms swinging loosely at sides.
Brisk: A rate of about 4 mph with active arm motion.
Race: A rate of 5 mph with quick steps, arms at a 90-degree angle, and hip rotation (forward to backward motion) for speed.
Initially, incorporating a regular basic exercise routine might seem taxing to some clients, but you will experience a multitude of health benefits associated with it. So, go ahead, get moving!