Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for health and fitness. One reason for this is because it can provide you with an effective workout for the cardiovascular system. Also called aerobic exercise, brisk walking performed two to three times per week will not only strengthen your heart but will help you burn fat, as well.
One of the ways that walking can help you lose weight is that your metabolism stays high for up to 2 to 3 hours after your workout. Additionally, it also helps to redistribute stored fat to your muscles, giving you a well-toned physique when performed on a regular basis.
Moreover, even if you are not concerned about losing weight, walking helps you to keep your heart and lungs strong and healthy, giving you more stamina for your activities.
Another benefit of walking is that the stress it places on your joints and bones helps to strengthen them against breaks, fractures and osteoporosis.
Although walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise to engage in, there are a few things you should keep in mind before engaging in a walking program.
Watch Your Form
One thing that you need to keep in mind as you walk for fitness is to watch your form. To get the most from your walk, it’s important to keep your feet hip length apart, your toes pointed forward and your arms bent at the elbows and close to your side. Additionally, you should keep your stomach pulled in and your back straight. As you walk, plant your heels on the ground and then roll to the balls of your feet and push off with your toes. By keeping the proper form as you walk you will ensure that you get the most benefit out of your walk and the best possible workout.
Vary Your Routine
Also important to any walking program that you engage in, is varying your routine each time you workout. If you walk at the same pace for the same amount of time each and every session, your body will eventually get used to the routine and your exercise will not be as effective. To challenge your body, try to vary your routine. For example, try mixing up your routine with short bursts of fast walking, jogging and normal walking; another way to vary your routine is to carry small weights in your hands as you walk. You could also wear leg or ankle weights as you walk or jog. All of these ways of varying your routine will help to keep your body from getting used to your workout and keep you challenged.
The Right Foot Gear
Last, but not least, before you engage in a walking program, be sure you wear the right foot gear. The comfort of your feet is of utmost importance when you are walking. Make sure that your foot gear has a good, supportive arch to avoid any foot pain or injuries during or after your walk. Additionally, your shoes should hug your feet without feeling too snug or tight. If you are unsure about what kind of walking shoes to use during your walks, check out a store which is geared towards athletes or sports. There, you will be able to find a number of athletic shoes for a variety of sports. A knowledgeable salesperson should be able to explain the differences between the various types of sports shoes and tell you which one is the best for you.