Walking Your Way to Better Health

Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions is to “finally get in shape.” But you’re certain you don’t want to put in the time, expense, and possible humiliation of joining the local gym.
No problem! You can walk your way to weight loss and better overall health with little hassle, and no more equipment than a good pair of walking shoes and a watch. Walking is a great low-impact exercise that you can incorporate into your everyday lifestyle for health and longevity. Ready to get started? Let’s go!
The Right Shoe
It all starts with the shoe. You don’t need fancy shoes for walking, but you do need supportive, comfortable shoes that don’t compromise your foot health. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a pair of decent tennis shoes, you have the exciting opportunity to experiment and find the shoes that fit best. Whether you prefer Nike, Adidas, or Merrell shoes, ensure that your shoes fit properly. Too big or too small, even by a small amount, is not good for your feet and can even lead to serious damage. Keep in mind that you can purchase inserts for extra comfort.
The Right Attitude
Walking isn’t a big deal. You’ve been doing it since you were about a year old. And as such, many of us see it as “too easy” or “too simple” to count as exercise. We also don’t always take our walking programs as seriously as we should, thinking we can “make it up” later with a trip to the store or around the block.
If you are serious about walking for weight loss and improved health, you’ve got to get in the mindset that you need to stick with it, and that you will not accept any compromises or excuses. If you live in a part of the country where it’s cold and snowy or wet and rainy in the winter, take to the mall or treadmill for an hour. The American Heart Association offers a great walking program you can start today. Check it out—you can make your plan, track progress, and even find great walking trails in your area.
The Right Support
Unless you enjoy the solitude of solo walking, it may be a good idea to have a walking buddy or two to join you on your walking journey. It’s been proven that exercise efforts are much more effective when there’s someone either sharing the efforts, or egging you on as you pursue better health and weight loss. Walking indoors on a treadmill? Turn it into a treat by walking to your favorite television program, listening to music, or chatting with a friend on your Bluetooth as you work out.
The Right Start
When you are walking for exercise, you need to remember that you’re not just taking a leisurely stroll down the street or through the mall. Don’t forget to stretch and warm up before you begin your brick pace. Cool down at the end, too. You can injure yourself while walking, even though you’ve been doing it nearly all your life. It’s better to treat your walking as a serious pursuit and take the necessary steps to ensure injury-free, effective walking workouts.
Walking your way to health is easy and enjoyable. It’s a great way to get and stay in shape. So, hit the trail or the treadmill and step out in the knowledge that this is one walk you’ll never regret taking!