by LJ Dovichi | May 2nd, 2008 | Walking

Walking is an excellent low-impact exercise that’s good for any fitness level. It’s the most natural form of exercise, and your body specializes in it. Walking is safe, simple, doesn’t require any fancy workout equipment, any practice, and is gentle on the body. Walking is good for you and the health benefits are numerous.walking

Walking lowers your risk of a heart attack, controls cholesterol, and helps to manage blood pressure. Walking can also reduce the risk of adult onset diabetes, especially in overweight women, and if you’re already diabetic, it’ll help control your sugar levels. Walking burns a considerable amount of calories helping to lose weight. A quick walk is a great way to reduce stress and get the endorphins flowing, which fights off feelings of depression and anxiety. For older people, walking for physical fitness can help them stay mobile, prevent falls, and preserve their independence.

As with any exercise, there’s a certain amount of preparation. Make sure you have comfortable walking shoes. One of the major dangers of walking is blisters. Also dress comfortably in bright colors and in layers, that way you can control your temperature as you warm up. To avoid sore muscles make sure you warm up and stretch. Walk around slowly and after about five minutes, stretch your leg muscles, and then you’re ready for your walk.

In order to get the best results from your walk and to avoid injury or overdoing it is to keep track of your intensity — knowing your level enables you to know if you need to slow down. A good way to do that is the talk test. If you’re out of breath and you aren’t capable of carrying on a conversation, you are going too fast, and you should slow down. As with all exercises the first priority above the obvious getting fit is safety.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.