Walking is one of the most elegant, simple, and affordable means of providing your body with a host of fitness benefits. Because it calls into play so many different muscles groups as well as kinds of exercise, it's one of the best things you can do to help ensure good spinal health, an efficient metabolism, and strong immunity.
Surprisingly, walking burns about as many calories as running or jogging, yet carries less risk of cardiac overexertion or risk of injuries, such as shin splints. A brisk 15-minute walking mile can do wonders for you.
Simple tips on walking
- Allow your arms to move naturally; don't keep them rigid. The key is to relax while you are walking.
- Avoid carrying weight equipment, such as small dumbbells.
- Be mindful of the kind of surface on which you walk. The most ideal kind of surface is cushioned or rubberized, although it is hard to find anywhere except an indoor track or fitness facility. Grass is another semi-ideal surface because it "gives" to your weight. Concrete, tile, stone or linoleum floors are among the worst kinds of surfaces on which to walk.
- Experts generally agree that you should start out walking about 20 minutes several days a week, gradually increasing that to 30, 40, 50 minutes, and so on.
- In colder months, layer your clothing. This will allow your body to trap heat that it needs and shed heat that it doesn't need.
- Invest in a good quality pair of walking or running shoes that give you plenty of support in the heel, ball, and arch. Uppers should be composed of breathable materials, such as nylon or leather. Keep your head and chin up at all times. This not only ensures a neutral spine, but also keeps you alert to dangers, such as cars or other hazards.
- Walk briskly.