Walking may be one of the most under-appreciated forms of exercise. People think that because it is something that almost everyone can do, it isn’t a good enough form of exercise to make a difference in your health.
This is so untrue! Walking may be the BEST form of exercise. Just by walking for 30 minutes 3 to 5 times per week you can improve your health.
Now, for some people the idea of walking this much is daunting. If you are starting from a point where you are not doing any form of exercise at all, you want to start slowly. You can start walking 3 times a week for 15 minutes. Gradually build up to 5 days a week for 15 minutes. Do this for a few weeks. Once you are comfortable and feeling unchallenged by this time, you can add on 5 minutes to each walk. Add another 5 minutes every week until you reach 30 minutes.
If you are finding it tough to schedule in the time here are a few suggestions:
- walk on your lunch hour before you eat
- walk during your commute to work – get off the bus a few stops earlier
- find a walking partner
- find a walking club – some shopping malls have walking groups that meet before the mall opens
- walk after dinner with your family
- skip a television show and walk instead
Now, 30 minutes is a great target for most people. But, if you want to challenge yourself more and obtain even more benefit from walking, you can start to increase the time by 10 minutes each week until you reach an hour. A great way to increase the intensity of walks without adding extra time is to walk faster, walk uphill or add in short periods of jogging. This will help build more stamina and increase overall fitness level.
The key thing to remember about walking is that you need to treat it like any other form of exercise. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity. If you start out too fast you may experience pain or discomfort which may cause you to stop walking altogether.
Take the first step towards a healthier life.
Note: Please consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.