Walking is one of the easiest things we can do to keep our bodies fit and healthy. However, even something considered as “low impact” as walking can cause stress and damage to our bodies. If you’re going to be serious about walking, then you also need to be serious about walking healthy.
- Always check with your doctor, especially if you’re “at risk” for certain conditions. If you have low blood sugar, heart or lung conditions, then it’s highly recommended that you ask for advice about how best to walk, how long you should walk, and signs to watch out for if there any problems.
- Get the right gear. A good pair of comfortable shoes with a strong arch, firm heel and flexible sole is needed if you’re going to keep your feet in good condition. Nothing will kill your enthusiasm for walking faster than suffering from blisters and cramps. Also, be sure to replace those shoes every 4 – 6 months, once they’ve lost cushioning and support, you start risking damage.
- Use good form. It’s recommended that you warm up first before walking, stretch your calves and thighs to wake them up and then start slowly before you reach your steady pace. Once you start walking, swing your arms to help your stride, keep your head up, your abdomen flat and toes straight. It may take some practice to walk “correctly” but it’ll become second nature before too long.
- Go prepared. During hot months, take water or a nutritional drink along with you to stay hydrated. Wear proper sun protection like a hat or sunscreen during summer, wear layers of clothing during colder months to stay warm without overheating. Walk during the morning or evening in the summer and closer to mid-day in the winter.
Above all, stay engaged and committed to being healthy. Switch up your routine if you start to get bored or ask around for a partner if you need extra motivation. A little effort goes a long way to stay fit and healthy.