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  Beginning a Fitness Walking Program

Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive forms of exercise. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes, comfortable clothing, and the motivation to walk.

How to start: Start out slow and easy. It can be as simple as walking outside or more high-tech such as walking on a treadmill. Most people can start out with a brisk 10 minute walk. That's it!
Do this every day for a week. If this was too easy for you, add five minutes to your walks for week 2. Keep adding 5 minutes until you are walking as long as desired.

Posture: How you hold your body is very important to walking comfortably and easily. With good posture you will be able to breathe easier and you will avoid back pain.
  • Stand up straight.
  • Think of being a tall and straight, do not arch your back.
  • Do not lean forward or lean back. Leaning puts strain on the back muscles.
  • Eyes forward, not looking down but rather 20 feet ahead.
  • Chin up (parallel to the ground). This reduces strain on neck and back.
  • Shrug once and let your shoulders fall and relax, your shoulders slightly back.
  • Suck in your stomach
  • Tuck in your behind - rotate your hip forward slightly. This will keep you from arching your back.
Drink Fluids: The best way to prevent dehydration is to maintain body fluid levels by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after a walk.

If you are not sure how much fluid to drink, you can monitor your hydration using one of these methods.

Weight: Weigh yourself before practice and again after practice. For every pound you lose during the workout you will need to drink 2 cups of fluid to rehydrate your body.

Urine color: Check the color of your urine. If it is a dark gold color like apple juice, you are dehydrated. If you are well hydrated, the color of your urine will look like pale lemonade.

Thirst is not an accurate indicator of how much fluid you have lost. If you wait until you are thirsty to replenish body fluids, then you are already dehydrated. Most people do not become thirsty until they have lost more than 2% of their body weight. And if you only drink enough to quench your thirst, you may still be dehydrated.

Keep a water bottle available when working out and drink as often as you want, ideally every 15 to 30 minutes.

Stretching & Flexibility: Incorporate a warm up, cool down and stretches into your routine. Start your walk at a slow warm up pace, stop and do a few warm up stretches. Then continue your walk for the desired length of time. NEVER start stretching before completing at least a 5-7 minute walk. Think of your body as a car engine and your blood as oil. You need to lubricate your joints before you start. End your walk with the slower cool down pace and stretch well. Stretching will make you feel great and assist in injury prevention.

One of the most difficult things about starting a fitness program is developing consistency and habit. The Top 5 Tips will help motivate yourself to walk. You should walk fast enough to reach your target heart rate, and slow enough that you can still maintain a conversation.

Depending on your goals, you may want to evaluate your walking routine every 4-6 weeks. If you are walking for general health, you will benefit from a minimum of 15 minutes per day, but you may choose to walk longer periods to enhance cardiovascular fitness.
To improve cardiovascular fitness it is recommended to walk a minimum of 20-25 minutes at as fast a pace as possible, without running and without laboured breathing. If you are walking for weight loss, you should walk a minimum of five days a week for at least 35-45 minutes or more within your target heart rate.

If you're new to walking, start off with slow, short sessions and build your way up gradually. If you have any health concerns or medical conditions, be sure to check with your a physician for advice before you begin.

Walking Schedule for Beginners

Walking Calculator & Top 5 Tips to motivate yourself to walk.

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