The key is to begin slowly and gradually work up to a more vigorous pace over a period of weeks. Participating in vigorous walking four to five times per week for 30 minutes or more is an effective way to keep stress down, build muscle tone, burn over 150 calories each time, sleep better, and raise energy levels substantially. You will also reduce your risk of developing various diseases such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Unlike running, walking is low impact so it helps build muscle while protecting your joints and tendons. Walking each day will also improve your stamina and your mood.
Many people believe running is superior because it gets the heart rate up, but brisk walking can achieve the same end without damage to the body caused by continual pounding on the ground.
The important elements of starting a good walking regimen are as follows:
- Decide why you want to become more fit; from there, build your walking goals
- Don't expect too much initially; start out slow and gradual to reduce risk of soreness and injury - especially for those who have been sedentary for long periods of time
- Buy good walking shoes that fit well and provide adequate support, especially arch support
- Warm up for five minutes prior to starting your walk
- While walking, make sure to exhibit good posture - shoulders back and chin up
- Swing your arms out for extra movement and exercise benefit
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