Did you know that regular walking can help you shed pounds, lower your blood pressure, reduce risk of heart attack, diabetes and stroke, improve your mood, help you sleep better, and make you stronger? Walking is an easy (almost free) way to improve your health. You just need a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothes and the motivation to get moving.
10 Creative Ways to Get Walking
- Walk with a buddy. Invite a friend or neighbor to walk with you or walk with a child!
- Walk a neighbor's dog or volunteer to walk animals from the local shelter.
- Vary your route to keep it interesting. Add hills to increase intensity.
- Track your pace and workouts from day to day with a GPS or a step counter.
- Listen to music. Music with 118-126 beats per minute will set a brisk walking pace at 15 minute/mile.
- Walk indoors during poor weather at your local school, community center, or shopping center.
- Walk in water to add resistance, check your local pool hours.
- Make a difference for others by joining a fundraising walk.
- Follow a schedule. Go from 15 to 60 minutes a day in 12 weeks with our Beginning a Walking Program PDF.
How to Get the Most out of Walking
- Start at a slower pace to warm up, stop and stretch, then continue. At the end of your walk, cool down and stretch.
- Look up, about 20 feet ahead, and walk tall. Your chin should be level. Your chest raised, and shoulders relaxed (shoulders down and back).
- Pretend you are walking in a straight line. To go faster, take smaller, faster steps, not longer ones. Tighten your abs and buttocks to fall into a natural stride. Push off with your toes.
- Move your arms in a natural way, not overly vigorous. Bend your arms slightly, cup your hands, and swing them gently from front to back (not across your body).
- Breathe naturally. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you walk. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your walk.
True or False? Hand weights and ankle weights increase the benefits of walking.
(False! Carrying weights or strapping them to your ankles actually increase risk of injury.)