As we all know exercise is very important for our overall health and well being. Many of us find it difficult to commit to an exercise regime because we have very busy lives at work and at home with our families. There is one form of exercise, that is easy to do, inexpensive, fun and extremely beneficial for our overall health and well being that most people of all ages can and should do. That is walking. Yes walking. As bipeds we are structurally built to walk, so why not use the equipment we were made with and get moving. It’s pretty easy to do, so here are a few tips to help you and your family get out there.
1. Make sure you have a decent pair of shoes to wear. They need to be comfortable, provide proper support, flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. They should not cause blisters.
2. Walk with a friend, family member or make it a group event and walk with the whole family or many friends. It is hard to back out of something and more enjoyable if you are doing it with others.
3. If you drive to work and find it difficult to get your walk in, park your car 5-10 minutes away so that you have to walk to and from work. Every little bit helps.
4.When the weather is good walk outdoors. The County has the Millennium Trail, which is a great place to walk and enjoy the outdoors. Take your friends, family and dog along.
5. When the weather doesn’t co-operate walk on the rubberized indoor track at the Wellington & District Arena. It’s a great place to meet new friends.
6. Wear a pedometer to track your daily steps, it’s a great conscience. Remember that the recommendation is 10,000 steps per day, that’s about 100 minutes per day. A sedentary person will only get 1,000 - 3,000 steps in per day. If you are sedentary, start your walking program slow. Try to walk 10 minutes a day and increase gradually. Before you know it you will be walking between 30 - 60 minutes per day. If you can do that 4 times per week that is great.
7. If you don’t have time for a 30 - 60 minute walk, break it down into more manageable times that you can do throughout your day. In the end it is still 30 - 60 minutes of walking.
8. Technique is important when walking, especially when walking for exercise. Walk with purpose by keeping your head up, look ahead not down at the ground. Swing your arms with a bend at the elbows, add a little pumping action. Stand tall with a straight back and engaged abs (hug your belly button in), be relaxed through your shoulders and neck. Your gait should be smooth rolling from heel to toes.
In the end, it’s all about moving and walking is a great way for you to move. So get out there.