Walking for Health and Fitness: Walking Prep
Walking is the easiest and safest exercise to build into a lifelong habit. And when it becomes a regular habit, a day will not go by without feeling the need to get outside and experience the rhythm of a good walk. It only remains now to make a start by taking a step in the right direction and preparing for your walk so that you have the right equipment, the right approach and you have a plan to keep motivated week in week out.
One of the reasons walking is a great exercise is because it’s inexpensive to get kitted out: little more than a pair of comfortable supportive shoes and clothing suitable for the weather and time of the year. Well-designed walking shoes act like shock absorbers. They take the strain out of walking, they keep your feet in good shape and they help keep the rest of you in good shape too. With the right shoes, the right socks and the right clothing you will be geared up to walk anytime.
Getting started is a question of how fit you are to begin with. If you’re reasonably fit and active and do not suffer from a medical problem that will affect your ability to exercise then begin with 5-10 minutes around the block along a familiar route, turn around and come home again. Then gradually move on to the 7-Day Walkout Plan.
Although walking is safe and effective because it is a low-impact exercise using muscles which you have been using all your life, warming up and cooling down will help you improve your performance and prevent you getting injured.
Keeping up a regular walking schedule is all about commitment, consistency and confirmation. Commitment fires your enthusiasm and keeps you motivated; consistency is all about regular habits; and confirmation records your commitment and consistency by keeping a walking log or food diary to measure your progress.
You can stay motivated by varying your walks and walking times. Walking in the morning, walk while commuting to work, walking in your lunch hour, or a walk after work will all add variety and interest to your walking day and keep you alert and energised. Walking and motivation music is another way to keep inspired. Music can take us from a highly tense state to a relaxed yet alert state in just a few minutes so why not plug in your iPod or Walkman with some favourite music to match your stride and mood.