Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Walking Is Better For You Than You Think

As many of you probably know, I run almost every day. However, I didn’t start off running seven to nine miles a day. I started by walking and trying to get to a rate of four miles per hour. That was the goal. Even now, I mix my running routine with walking and running. Currently, I warm up with a one to two mile walk, then start a mixture of interval training. Walking thirty seconds and running thirty second, increasing the running seconds by 15 to 30 seconds per mile. Then cool down with a mile.

There are many benefits of walking. For me, it is therapeutic. I like my walking time. It’s thirty to sixty minutes of time away from the world. According to the Mayo Clinic, it strengthens your bones, prevents various medical conditions, as well as maintaining your weight. Another study by the University of Pittsburgh, states that walking can benefit mental health as well as physical health. Participants in the study, who walked less than nine miles a week were more likely to suffer from memory problems.

Before starting any sort of exercise routine, talk to your doctor and make sure you are able to do exercise. You can do this at your next medical check up. If you are not seeing your doctor every six to twelve months, make this a priority. Regular check up are important to overall wellness.

When you start, make sure you have the proper equipment. The one area where you should spend the extra money is in the shoes. Go to a running store and get fitted for the shoes that match your stride. Most of these stores will have a treadmill and they will watch you walk/run and then determine the best shoe for you.

The next step is comfortable clothes. Make sure you have clothes to walk where you plan to walk. If walking on a treadmill or indoor track, you can get by with shorts and a t-shirt. Look for clothing that wicks moisture - this helps keep you cool.

If you don’t want to buy a watch with a stop watch, you can use your smartphone. Most phones have apps that will track your distance and time. Nike+, RunKeeper, and DailyMile are just a few. Each has different benefits. My suggestion is to use the one you like the most. Also, poll your friends and see what they like to use.

I like to walk outside. On the trail I use, it is marked at every half mile. I like that. I also use Google maps and calculate distances from my house. I try to use this map to gauge different mile markers on the route. This is easier than driving the route with your car. The map lets you pick a point and routes it out.  

The main point is to get moving. Sedentary lifestyles are killing us. We must get moving and get more activity into our lives. I hope to see you out on the trail.


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