Getting Started With Walking
Getting started with walking – You do not have to do any special stretching, bouncing or other contortions to warm up for walking. Simply walk at a slowish pace for five to eight minutes to increase circulation and breathing. This also warms up the muscles that are going to be worked out and that could be damaged if you started exercising while they are cold.
After five to eight minutes, speed up to a pace you enjoy. Most walkers cruise comfortably at 5.6km (31/2 miles) an hour – the speed at which the body was designed to walk.You will even burn off fat if you keep on walking at that speed for 30 minutes every day.
However, if you want to train your heart and go in for a little cardiovascular conditioning, you can step up the pace on some days to a brisk walk.
Doing walks at different paces also adds variety and interest, as does varying the route.Try to find a low step or wall 15-20cm (6-8 inches) high and slowly step up and down for 5 minutes, then continue walking. Swing your arms and watch your posture. Focus on using your legs and buttocks as you stride and pull in your tummy and back muscles.
To prevent foot problems, regular walkers should invest in some well-cushioned walking shoes, or make sure that there is at least a thumb’s width of space in front of the toes. Dust your feet with powder before walking and moisturize your feet before bed. Wear socks with a high cotton or wool content. If you are doing a day’s hiking give your feet a ‘breather’ during the day by taking off your boots and socks. Change your socks midway for extra comfort.
When not to exercise
Do not exercise vigorously if you are unwell or recovering from a viral illness such as a cold or if you are taking painkillers. Stop straight away if you ever experience pain in the chest, neck or upper left arm, joint pain, dizziness or faintness severe breathlessness or exhaustion.