Walking – The first step towards fitness

What is the best way to start a walking program?

Drive to the mall and park at the far end of the block. Walk to the sports shoe store, buy a pair of jogging shoes. Lace on your purchases, and walk back to the car. You’ve already started walking.

Is walking really a good activity?

Walking gets you out of the chair, out of the house, and away from the fridge. It gets you outside to fresh air, where you meet neighbors with their dogs and kids. It gets your heart beating, blood pumping, and your muscles stretching. That’s a good start.

Walking is one of the best exercises when you want to get in shape. I live out in the countryside, and I typically walk my dog for 5-6 miles in and out of our small town. On the way back and forth, we meet neighbors, other dogs, and other walkers…Luckily she doesn’t bark at them all. But we both have great of a time!

When I was a kid, I spent my summers in the ranges of Colorado, hiking and backpacking. Even in the military, I enjoyed long marches with a full backpack and other stuff.

A gratifying part of life

I guess you could say that walking is an exercise, but I prefer to think of it as a enjoyable part of active and well-rounded life. It gets you away from the fridge, out of the house, and into the fresh air.

Walking shoes

Walking doesn’t take any special equipment, just a good pair of shoes… and the best walking shoes for you is also the best jogging shoe.

Visit a specialist

Go to a store that focuses on joggers and runners. Try on shoes until you find the pair that feels comfortable, durable, supportive, doesn’t slip up and down at the heel, yet is non-restrictive (it has enough ample toe-room).

Take a walk

If they let you, take a short walk to make sure all is satisfactory. If all is fit, buy two pairs at the same time.

The first step

Walking is a excellent activity on its own. You can do things to make your walking more productive as an exercise yet still remain fun.

Walking is also the starting point for other, perhaps higher level, aerobic conditioning programs. If you wish, you can make walking the first step in a more ambitious fitness program.

What if You cannot walk longer times continuously?

No problem. Everyone starts at a different level, everyone has different goals, and everyone’s body adapts differently to training. When starting anything new, try not to compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on doing the best that you can. The rest will take care of itself in time.

Ok, on to the question at hand. The human body may not always be a work of art, but it was built to walk pretty well.

Whatever your current ability, be it half a mile or 10 miles continuous, start with the basics: do whatever you can! If you feel like you’re going to die after a mile, then you probably will not enjoy your walking enough to stick with it.

Walk and run

There are other things you can do to stay safe and uninjured. For example, if you start to exercise for running, remember to walk and runs. Break up the running periods depending on your shape.

Walk a quarter of a mile, jog a quarter-mile, walk a quarter-mile, jog a quarter-mile, and so on. You are actually running 50% further without the pain of doing it continuously.

Once you have a feel for that, begin upping the running distance and/or reducing the walking distance, effectively building toward a longer distance of continuous running.

Conclusion

We’ve been walking since babyhood. Walking is second nature! Right? What the heck do we need to learn about walking at this stage of the game? Lots!

What is the single most important ingredient in a successful exercise program?
Consistency – make a schedule, and stick to it!

If you have questions about beginning a walking program or improving the one you are already on, we are here at your service.

Please note: All exercise, training, health, and nutritional information should be treated as educational in nature. All advice contained here is non-medical opinion. We do not assume responsibility for any physical harm that may be caused as a result of advice given on these pages. Please consult a physician or doctor before embarking on any exercise or training regimen.

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