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One Step At a Time

Walk to improve health

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One Step At a Time

The first step towards fitness is a commitment to walking more - with purpose. Walking is the most basic yet effective form of exercise and has amazing benefits.

For some of us, the idea of starting a fitness program can be daunting; there are so many different exercise options to choose from. But we all do something every day that, when harnessed into a purposeful fitness regimen, can do wonders for our overall health and well-being.

The first step toward fitness is a commitment to walking more–with purpose. There is no more basic yet effective form of exercise than walking to improve health, keep weight off, and shed pounds.

Everyone Can Do It

In case you’re not convinced, here are some reasons why many people prefer walking to any other form of exercise to help maintain fitness:

  • Walking is easy and can be performed virtually anywhere.
  • Walking is as natural to us as breathing, so there is no learning curve.
  • Walking can be challenging or casual, since you can set the pace.
  • Walking requires only a good pair of shoes; special clothing and gear are not required.
  • Walking can be solitary or enjoyed with a buddy, a family member, or even a group.

Every Step Counts

Walking is the easiest form of activity to start with on the road to fitness, as it can be performed anywhere, anytime. If daily life makes it difficult to commit to a specific, regular exercise routine, then simply make walking an integral part of each day.

Experts recommend that we accu-mulate approximately 10,000 steps in a day, which is equivalent to performing 30 minutes of accumulated daily activity. Keep track of steps on a lightweight and portable pedometer, available for purchase at most sporting good stores.
Start walking today, and improve your health–one step at a time!

Getting Started

Goal number one should be consistency. Don’t be concerned with pace, hills, or heart rate. Just walk three to five times per week for 30 to 45 minutes each.

  • Choose the ideal route. Beginners may prefer a flat terrain to help maintain a quick pace throughout the walk.
  • Carry a stopwatch to record how long it takes to complete the route.
  • Challenge yourself at each workout to beat your previous time.
  • Start slow, enjoy the scenery, and as your muscles begin to warm, progress to a
    faster pace.
  • Walk with good posture (head up and shoulders back), while swinging the arms and taking comfortably long strides.

Picking Up the Pace

As the weeks pass and a feeling of comfort sets in with the walking routine, it may be time to pick up the pace.

  • Swing your arms, drive your legs, get your heart rate up, and try to keep a comfortable and challenging pace.
  • Go higher! Rather than going faster, incorporate hill work into your walks. This will challenge the cardiovascular system to work harder, burn more calories, and shape and tone the core and thighs.
  • Walk backwards uphill to challenge the front thigh muscles to work harder.

Changing It Up

Interval walking is a great way to mix intense cycles of walking with slower-paced intervals, which help you recover and catch your breath.

  • Choose an intensity level that allows you to maintain a modest conversation.
  • Begin with a 1:1 ratio–walk intensely and casually for equal amounts of time.
  • Work up to a 2:1 ratio–double the amount of intense walking.
  • Alternate two- to three-minute intervals.

For a challenge, try interval walking up and down the same hill.

  • Start with a good warm-up.
  • Walk up a hill, stop at the top, catch your breath, and walk down for your recovery walk.
  • Perform five to 10 sets; cool down with a slow and steady walk home.
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