Turn Your Summer Walk into a Workout

[caption id="attachment_42459" align="alignnone" width="856"]Exercise is always more enjoyable when you do it with a friend.  Find a walking buddy who wants to join you.  Exercise is always more enjoyable when you do it with a friend. Find a walking buddy who wants to join you.[/caption]

You’re ready to get some exercise. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds. Maybe all that daily sitting is getting you down. Maybe you just want to get some fresh air, vitamin D and treat your body right. But where to begin? Walking is one of the easiest and most profitable forms of exercise. All you need is a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothing, and a little motivation.

  1. New Shoes – wearing walking shoes that are comfortable and fit your feet well can help prevent injuries such as blisters and calluses. A walking shoe should also be fairly lightweight and provide good shock absorption.
  2. Start Slowly – just walk out the door – whether you’re at home or at work. Stop what you’re doing and walk for 10 minutes, then turn around and walk back. It’s that simple. Begin by doing this just 2 days a week. Then gradually increase until you are walking every day. Continue slowly adding five minutes a day until you reach your desired walking time.
  3. Form a Habit – the hardest thing about starting any fitness program is developing a habit. Walking daily will help. Pick the same time each day to get out there and walk. A minimum of 5 days a week is a good goal. You should walk fast enough to increase your heart rate, but not so fast that you are gasping for air.
  4. Find a Friend – exercise is always more enjoyable when you do it with a friend. Find a walking buddy who wants to join you. It will hardly feel like exercise when you’re chatting about the latest episode of your favorite show. Plus, you will hold each other accountable. You are less likely to skip a walk if someone is waiting for you.
  5. Tune In – if you’re walking alone, consider bringing an MP3 player and listening to music or even that book that you haven’t had a chance to read. Note – the more upbeat the music, the more likely you are to increase your pace.
  6. Pick a Pedometer – A summary of 26 different studies showed that pedometer users walked at least 2,000 more steps each day than nonusers, and using a pedometer helped them increase their overall physical activity levels by 27%. Other research has shown that the exercise advice a doctor gives to his or her patients might be more effective if a pedometer were part of the prescription.

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