Walking is an ideal way to get fit. Walking is low impact and inexpensive and can be done indoors or out. Best of all, research consistently shows that walking is great for your health, lowering blood pressure, helping with weight loss and weight maintenance and improving blood lipids and blood glucose — all of which can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Getting started with a walking program. Just about anyone can start a walking program, but it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before you take that first step.
Here’s what to do once you’ve gotten the all-clear:
- Buy the right pair of shoes. Choose supportive, comfortable shoes that are designed for walking. Grab the shoe at the front and back and bend it; the shoe should bend right near the ball of the foot, your foot’s natural hinge point, and the heel should be stiff. For the best fit, you should be able to wiggle your toes without experiencing slippage in the heel, and the sides should be snug but not tight.
- Scope out the scene. Parkwood Heights Campus has many outdoor options for walking. If walking outdoors at another location is you choice, try to walk on solid, even surfaces. It’s also important to avoid busy roads, because in addition to the dangers of traffic, polluted air decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches your heart.
- You don’t have to be derailed by bad weather. Parkwood Heights has treadmills or hallways for you convenience. If you move to Parkwood Heights is in the future, many malls have indoor walking clubs, or you might consider investing in a treadmill or joining a gym with treadmills or an indoor track. And try to find a friend or two to keep you company. Walking with someone will keep you safer and more motivated.
- Setting realistic walking goals. The American Heart Association recommends that adults engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate- intensity physical activity at least five days a week. You can do the 30 minutes all at once or break it up into two or three shorter walks a day.
- Of course, everyone’s fitness level is different. Initially, many older people may be unable to walk for 30 minutes five days a week. If necessary, start with as little as five to 10 minutes of walking three days a week. Every week or so, add another three to five minutes to your walk, and when you’re ready increase to four days and then five. As your fitness level improves, also try to walk faster, so that you’re covering more distance in the same amount of time. But always remember that some exercise is better than none.