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Walking for Fitness

 

 

By Diane Hanson

I have to admit that I am not much of a fitness buff but I get enough physical activity through daily walks, and would not hesitate to recommend walking to anyone looking for a gym-free way to shape up.

Walking is for everyone. It's safe, simple and great for the elderly or overweight people. Studies have shown that a regular walking program improves your overall health and well being tremendously. Walking not only burns calories and helps you lose weight, it also tones your lower body, lowers high blood pressure, and boost bone strength, keeping osteoporosis at bay.

In addition, walking costs you almost nothing since it is not about expensive fitness gadgets or free weights. All you need to get started is a pair of comfortable shoes and loose clothes.

 

How to Fitness Walk

Give yourself 5 minutes to do simple warm-up exercises such as walking in place. After that, stretch your muscles – calf, quadriceps, hamstring and side – before you start to walk. Don't forget to use correct posture and movement when you walk.

 

Start slow and check the intensity of your workout. You should be able to talk without being short of breath while walking. If 10 minutes is all you can handle at the beginning, that's good enough.

 

Gradually work your way up to longer distance and duration over the weeks. Although experts recommend that you walk at least of 30 minutes daily, you don't have to walk miles and miles to reap the health benefits of walking.

 

If you want to burn more calories and lose weight, walking more is better, about 60 minutes a day.

 

Evaluate your heart rate by checking your pulse to make sure that you're exercising within the range of your target heart rate. Listen to your body; if you experience foot, knee, hip or back pain, stop at once.

 

End your fitness walking session by walking slowly for 5 minutes, and remember to cool down after that.

 

You can keep track of your progress in a diary. Write down the distance walked and how long you took. That way, you can look back at how far you've come, and stay motivated.

 

If you prefer, track your progress with a pedometer, attached to your waist band or belt. Pedometer detects your body motion and counts your footsteps. The more expensive ones can calculate calories burned and distance walked.

 

Walking alone can be boring at times so get a friend or a family member to walk with you, and make it interesting with different walking routes.

 

Listening to lively music while you walk is also helpful. However, keep the volume down and watch out for traffic that you may not hear.

 

If bad weather is stopping you from a regular fitness walking session, you might want to walk at home. In-home walking is a great workout that you can do it on your own, or use a DVD.

 

Fitness walking is really fun. If you make walking a regular part of your fitness program, it will reward you with tons of benefits. You will shrink body fat, sleep better and have loads of seemingly endless energy.  

 

Always check with your doctor before you start a walking program.

 

 

how to fitness walk

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