Warming Up For A Walk
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 your getting injured.
The best way to warm up is to walk slowly (your normal walking pace) for five minutes before stepping up to a brisker pace. The body is like a finely tuned machine which needs to be warmed up if it is to work at full efficiency. A warm-up prepares the body for exercise by gradually speeding up your heart rate, breathing rate and blood circulation. As your body temperature rises, your muscles warm up and joints are lubricated in readiness for action, reducing the risk of injury. Increasing the blood supply to muscles provides them with more oxygen and glucose enabling you to establish a strong, aerobic pace early in your workout. Warming up also increases blood flow to the brain which improves your mood, focus and motivation.
The best way to cool-down is to gently reduce your brisk pace over five minutes back to your normal walking pace, so that your heart and blood pressure can begin returning to normal. A proper cool-down keeps the blood flowing through the muscles and any lactic acid that has built up inside the muscle cells can be dispersed in the circulation to the liver, where it is broken down. By doing this you should avoid niggling problems such as cramps, muscle soreness and stiffness.