Get moving: 7 ways to walk to good health

Walking for exercise means you can start from your front door and the convenience of this means you’re far more likely to stick with it over the long term. Here are 7 tips for walking your way to a healthier you.

Get moving: 7 ways to walk to good health

Placing one foot ahead of the next

  1. Just put on a comfortable pair of shoes, go outside and walk around the block. Do the same tomorrow and the next day and the next for one month – even if you don't feel like it. The important thing is to cement the exercise habit.
  2. Once you're feeling fit, aim for a brisk 30-minute walk at least three or four times a week.
  3. If you want to check that your daily routine is enough to keep you fit, use a pedometer – a device that measures the number of steps you take. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. Just getting off the bus a stop before your destination might be all you need to do to hit this target.
  4. Rev it up a bit if you're getting less from your workout as you become fitter, or if your routine becomes boring. Vary your routes and add some hills. Start with a mild grade and build up to the steeper ones.
  5. Do some interval training to increase your fitness. Start with 30-second intervals and increase your pace to about 75 percent of your top speed, then drop back to your normal pace for 30 seconds. Gradually increase the length of your speed intervals to 3 minutes.
  6. Take smaller steps when you want to power up your walking. The natural inclination is to take longer strides, but it's actually more effective to shorten them and focus on walking faster.
  7. Invest in a pair of good athletic shoes.

Choosing the right shoe

Never skimp on the quality of your athletic shoes. If your feet aren't properly supported, you'll be out of action in no time.

  • Select shoes that are especially designed for your chosen activity – it will make a big difference to your comfort and performance. Cross trainers are recommended for aerobic exercises or for multiple activities.
  • To avoid paying full retail price, check out sales and factory outlets. During the rest of the year, keep your eyes peeled for special online and retail offers.
  • Consider buying less well known brands of athletic shoes as they can offer equal quality for a much lower price. And be aware that in the past, certain prestige brands have been linked to unethical labour practices in developing countries.
  • Take your old athletic shoes to the shoe store. In some sports outlets, the staff can offer advice on what to buy based on the pattern of wear in your old shoes. For instance, if you tend to lean towards the instep, they'll recommend a shoe with additional support for that part of your foot.
  • Get advice from a podiatrist, who will recognize any problems you may have and can give you objective advice on what sort of shoe to buy.

Walking is free, gentle on the environment and good for your health, so why not start your journey to a fitter you with a walk today!

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