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Walking is a great past-time, stress reliever, and workout. While many people feel that “working out” must involve running or lifting weights, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you’re going to do any workout, you should at least walk. A workout that involves walking a mile or two is far better than a workout that involves nothing.

In fact, walking has a lot of benefits that running and weightlifting does not. When you walk, you give your brain time to relax, and burn calories while avoiding muscle strain. For people trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, this is important.

However, walking for fitness is different than just strolling around town, and you should take certain precautions when going out. Hope Healthcare has some information on how to walk for fitness safely, and how to get the most from the exercise.

Finding Inspiration to go walking

Walking once a week is better than not walking at all, but you should try and set goals when it comes to your fitness routine. Your goals are your own, and you should set them according to your standards and hopes. Try to be reasonable when setting your goals and take it easy at first.

For example, if you’re having trouble mustering the motivation to walk, set light goals for yourself. Take a stroll around the block for the first day and increase the distance and speed as the days go on. In a few weeks, you could be walking two miles in an hour. From there, you can work up until you’re satisfied with your exercise routine.

Pre-Walking Checklist

Before you go out, you should run through your pre-walk checklist. This list will include important safety routines, pocket-checks, and other details. If you’re not sure what your pre-walk checklist should include, here are some suggestions you should consider.

  • Are you wearing comfortable, supportive shoes? Don’t walk in flats, heels, or flat-footed sneakers. Wear running or tennis shoes, or a pair of supportive boots.
  • Dress for the weather. If you think you might get cold, dress extra warm. Once you start walking, you might feel colder. However, focus on sheddable layers, not heavy coats. If it’s hot out, make sure to wear sportswear or shorts, and a breathable shirt.
  • Take water. You should always take water. Try to drink as much as you can, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Are you safe? Tell someone where you’re going and try to leave a record of your route. If something happens, you want someone to know as soon as possible. If you can, install a safe walk app on your phone. If you’re walking in the dark, make sure to wear reflective gear.
  • Write down your heart rate. You should try and check your heart rate before and after every workout. It can give you insight on how your heart is doing. Here is some information on keeping your heart healthy.

How To Walk Properly

Believe it or not, there is a way to walk improperly, and the efficacy of your exercise depends on your posture and technique. Always walk with a good posture and try to encourage mindfulness. For example, if you listen to music, check your posture every time a song ends. If you’re slouching or swinging your arms, straighten up and bend your elbows.

Your hands can swell if you leave them hanging or swinging at your sides. Keep your arms at a 90 degree angle and try to move them as you walk. You should also try and flex your hips and abs while walking, so every part of your body is getting some movement.

If you tire easy, don’t hesitate to take breaks. Even stopping for a moment to check your phone or drink water is better than pushing through it and feeling miserable. If your walks leave you in a bad mood, you’re less likely to work out again. Try to stay upbeat and give yourself chances to relax and enjoy your surroundings.

After you have been walking 

After the walk, you might feel tempted to sit down and chill out. However, letting the sweat dry on your skin can make you feel uncomfortable, and lead to acne or itching. After your walk, you should try and cool down. Pace your house, water your garden, and say hello to any pets. Then, drink some water and focus on getting clean.

Once you’ve gone through the motions of winding down and showering, you can settle down and enjoy some other activities. Try to eat a nutritious meal if you feel hungry. If you’re not sure how to read nutritional information, here’s what you need to know.

Finally, pat yourself on the back for doing your exercise routine. Feeling proud of yourself is part of the workout! Don’t forget that good health means regular checkups with a doctor. If you don’t have insurance, you don’t have to fret. HOPE Healthcare Services provides affordable healthcare services to many living in the Hendricks, Morgan, and surrounding counties in Indiana without insurance. Call us at 317-272-0708 for more information about the Community Care program.

Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.