Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
Congratulations! You have just decided to include some exercise in your day and have chosen to walk. This is a very wise decision. Walking is the simplest and easiest form of exercise. To begin with you do not need any expensive gear or equipment and you do not need to drive or take a bus anywhere to start. You can start at your own front door.
Walking on a regular basis will help control your weight, improve the efficiency of your heart and lungs and strengthen your muscles and bones. It is a great stress reliever and can become a social activity if you have a walking partner or join a group. When you start to walk just walk for enjoyment, walk for the pure joy of getting out in the fresh air and admiring your environment. As you build up a regular daily outing, many other benefits will follow – stress reduction and even some weight loss.
If you do not have a lot of time to dedicate to your walking do not stress over it. Start and use the free time you have and you will find that as you enjoy this new found pleasure you will gradually make more time for it.
There are some precautions that you should take as you embark on your new activity. In your new found enthusiasm do not overdo it.
A thirty minute walk every day to begin with is sufficient. You can divide this into two fifteen minute walks if you like. Walk at a comfortable pace and move your arms as you walk keeping your arms at right angles to your elbows. This helps prevent swollen hands developing while you walk.
Wear comfortable clothing which allows you to move freely. Dress for the weather. Layering clothing is a good idea as you can take off if you are too hot and replace if you feel cold. Wear a hat in sunny weather and some sun screen. Drink water before you start and bring a bottle with you for sipping as you go.
The most important item of gear is your shoes. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes or boots with plenty of toe room. Shoes that are too tight or too big will cause blisters. Never walk in new shoes or boots until you have them well broken in by wearing them for short periods in the house.
Wear good quality socks in a material which will wick away moisture. If you haven’t walked for a long time your feet may be sensitive to heat and friction so smother them in petroleum jelly before you start to prevent blisters or red spots.
Take a look at your daily schedule and decide where can you fit in a regular walking spot. If you can dedicate even a small amount of regular time to your walking you are more likely to establish the habit and continue.
Well done! Continue to enjoy your walking and encourage others to join you.