The body needs to move, lift and stretch to be its healthiest. Getting exercise is important, whether it’s walking or lifting weights. It helps keep you healthier and fitter. There’s a big push to get 10,000 steps in every day to stay fit. First, is it healthy? Absolutely, all types of exercise provide benefit for your body. Is it enough? It’s a start but doesn’t provide the body with every type of fitness. It’s aerobic and builds endurance, lower body strength and balance, but you also need to build upper body strength and flexibility.
Use it as a starting point or a supplement to a program of fitness.
If you go to the gym every other day, you can fill in your schedule by walking the days you don’t workout. It’s simple to do, which also makes it the perfect exercise starting program. If you’ve been on the couch for decades and lifting the remote your only exercise, you may not have the endurance for a full workout program. Walking is often a good place to start. It’s easy to do and can be done anywhere, year around. Even if you have sub-zero temperatures in the winter or boiling temperatures in the summer, you can walk indoors at malls.
Don’t try to overdo it and focus on posture.
You might not walk more than five to ten minutes the first few times you walk, depending on how fit you are. That’s okay. It’s five to ten minutes longer than you would have had you not started. You can stretch those five to ten minutes to fifteen, then twenty, until you reach a half hour or 45 minutes a day or add more ten minute sessions throughout the day as you get fitter. Carry weights and swing your arms for strength building and vary your speed to make it a HIIT session.
Before you walk, warm up and when you’re done, cool down.
Warming up prepares your body for walking and cooling down prevents blood pooling in the extremities. As you get fitter, use one ten minute walking session two days a week for strength training and add flexibility training every other day. Build on that until you get a full half hour of strength training twice a week and a half hour of flexibility training every other day. Before you know it, you’ll be ready for the gym or a formal exercise program.
- It’s important to focus on form when you first start. Your posture and how you move your body when you walk makes a difference in the benefits you get.
- Walking is a weight bearing exercise that’s important, especially for older individuals. It helps prevent osteoporosis, since it’s a weight bearing exercise. The muscles tug on the bones, causing the body to add more bone building material.
- Challenge yourself to increase your speed and complete your path in shorter time. One study showed that the speed you walk was directly related to life expectancy. The faster you walked, the longer you lived.
- How far should you walk? Start by walking away from your home for five minutes, then back, the first time you walk and build from there.
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