Walking is Great for your Natural Health
We all know we should exercise, right? It’s good for your weight, it’s good for your heart, it’s good for your emotions. You’ll live longer if you exercise and feel all around better about yourself. So why is this one single beneficial activity so hard for us to get up and do?
We have presumptions about what we need to start exercising – everything from needing more time and being too busy to do it, it’s too expensive to belong to a gym, I don’t have the right shoes, or the weather is too cold or too hot or too rainy or too dry – STOP THE INSANITY!!! (Thanks, Susan Powter!)
I’m going to show you that all of your excuses add up to nothing. You can very easily start exercising, continue exercising, and very, very easily get into shape, increase your longevity and reduce your risks of heart disease, and probably lose weight by exercising.
Are you kidding? Who me? Yes you!!!!
Stand up right now! Right this very minute. And put your right foot in front of your left foot. Now put your left foot in front of your right foot. Do this 100 more times.
You got it! Yay – you’re exercising. You’re on your way to looking and feeling younger, losing weight, and being happy!
See next posts: W is for Walk this Way, Part 1 and Part 2
Walking for Natural Health
Ok – We’re going to walk! Here are ten tips for making walking a fun, easy habit!
1. Get a good pair of walking shoes (this will be your only major expense to do this simple exercise). Walking shoes should be comfortable and fit your feet properly so as to prevent big injuries, as well as little injuries like blisters and calluses that will dampen your desire to continue. A good walking shoe should also provide some good shock absorption and also be fairly lightweight. Socks that are not too thin will also help to prevent rubbing and blisters. Walking shoes should be replaced once every six months.
2. Drink lots of water. Do this whether you walk or not! Get a water bottle with a strap. Drink water during walks of ten minutes or more whether you feel thirsty or not. Thirst is a sign of dehydration and dehydration can lead to dizziness, blackouts, and even death.
3. Set reasonable goals. If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, just get up now and walk around the block leisurely. Do it again tomorrow, and maybe add an extra five minutes. Start walking three times a week, adding 5 minutes each day. Work your way up to five or so times a week, 30 minutes per session, for a total of 2.5 to 3 hours per week.
4. Walk correctly. Standing erect and watching your posture will help you walk correctly and reduce injuries. Walk tall, as though you were elongating your body. Hold your head up high and keep eyes forward. Keep your shoulders down and back and relaxed. Tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks and walk naturally and comfortably relaxed. Swing your arms back and forth and a little higher than your waist for a better cardiovascular workout.
See next post: W is for Walk this Way, Part 2
Walk Properly for Natural Health
5. Vary the level. Start by walking on a flat surface, a sidewalk, or a track at the nearest school. Once you’re comfortable with walking at least twenty minutes, look for some elevations and start to walk up hills.
6. Get a pedometer. Keeping track of fitness exercise, as well as food intake, is a great way to monitor your progress and keep you on the right track (pun intended!). Even if you can only walk 5 minutes in one day, put it on your chart. Every step counts and seeing the steps you have taken will keep you going!
7. Try out some walking music. You can make your own playlist to listen to while you’re out there, or you can purchase or borrow from a library one of the great walking tapes that have been made. I personally love the Richard Simmons walking tape – he’s funny, he’s walking along with you, and the music is great!
8. Find a walking buddy or a walking group. It’s always fun to have someone to exercise with, and it’s also safe. If you’re going to be walking anywhere that might be less than secure, it’s good to walk with someone. Lots of schools and local Ys have walking groups. You’ll find fun friends and maybe even have some laughs!
9. Stretch before and after each walking workout. You’ll want to loosen the muscles that you’ll be using. Rotate your ankles, lunge to lengthen your hamstrings, and stretch out your quads – all for a better workout and less injuries. Cool down after your walk by slowing down before you stop. Stretch again at the end.
10. HAVE FUN! Smile at people as you walk. Look around at nature. Enjoy yourself.