5 tips to improve your walking workouts

July 28, 2015

Countless studies have shown the benefits of walking as a form of exercise, and there are numerous ways to make walks easier and enjoyable. Here's some of of them.

5 tips to improve your walking workouts

1. Sign up for a stroller walk

  • If you're a new mom, you know only too well how hard it is to fit in time for fitness – not to mention time for other basics such as taking a shower.
  • The good news is you can take your infant on your walk.
  • A growing number of community groups and fitness centres offer group stroller walks for new mothers.
  • Check your local community centre or children's hospital to see what's available in your area.

2. Walk in the nicest part of town

  • It just might encourage you to walk more often.
  • A study that questioned walkers about their walking habits found that men who perceived their neighbourhood as "aesthetic" were much more likely to walk around their locale.
  • Other research finds that neighbourhoods with well-maintained sidewalks and safe, well-lit walking areas encouraged more walking than neighbourhoods that were ill-maintained and poorly lit.
  • In fact, one study found that people who live in so-called walkable neighbourhoods walk an average of 70 more minutes each week than people in less walk-friendly surroundings.

3. Split it up

  • When you're too busy to go for your usual 30 to 60 minute walk, divide it up and get out there for five or 10 minutes at a time.
  • That may be as simple as taking a five minute walk break around the building after completing a big project at work.
  • Such short walking breaks will refresh your mind, so you can return to work with more vigour. In fact, research shows that most people can focus at top capacity for only 30 minutes at a time. After that, concentration begins to drop off so your intermittent walk breaks may actually make you more productive.

4. If you're over 60, walk on soft surfaces

  • As you age, the fat padding in your feet deteriorates.
  • The absence of this natural shock absorber can make walking on sidewalks and other hard surfaces feel like foot torture.
  • Flat grass and dirt paths will provide more cushioning for your feet than roads or sidewalks.
  • Or, alternatively, buy some shock-absorbing insoles, which help with shock absorption. They are readily available at most pharmacies.

5. Apply some petroleum jelly

  • If you're a long-distance walker or somewhat overweight, chafing clothes can make you want to call it quits.
  • You can solve the problem by wearing skin-hugging clothing and applying petroleum jelly to your sensitive areas that acts like a barrier to protect your skin.
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