Walk on: A fun, basic exercise for all

Posted May 4, 2010 by Katie

With the weather getting warmer, I’ve been doing a lot of walking during lunch breaks. It’s gotten me thinking a lot about walking, how great it is and also some good tips to make your walk better and more fun.

The basics

Walking is the most basic form of exercise. You don’t need any additional equipment, you can do it anywhere, and you don’t need to be a speed walker to get the benefits!

But it is important to remember a few things when you walk:

  • Wear well-fitted walking shoes and socks. The shoes should have snug arch support and provide stability.
  • Check your alignment – From top of your head to the sole of your foot, you want to have proper alignment so you don’t injure yourself. That means head up, shoulders and neck relaxed, walking heel to toe.
  • Wear sunscreen – Even 15 minutes in the sun can affect your skin.
  • Hydrate! Even if you're not sweating buckets, it's still smart to drink water before and after your walk.

Getting started

  • Warm up as you start walking by taking it slower than your intended pace. Then, stretch to cool down after you walk.
  • Start small. Five minutes out and five minutes back is a great starter walk. Ideally, experts suggest 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you can "escape" three times a day for 10 minutes, there's your 30! From what I've read, it's not about your speed of walking, but for how long you're outside keeping your body moving.
  • Have a goal in mind. When I go out at lunch, I know I can get to the park and back in 30 minutes. Having that destination helps motivate me.
  • Think safety – Walk with a buddy or in safe neighborhoods if no buddy is available. Carry ID, just in case.

The extras

Once you've been walking for awhile, pick up your pace or carry hand weights. Change your route. Shake up your routine so you don't get bored.

There are a few things I love about a good walk: the places I walk and the tunes I listen to. Walking in an inspiring environment, like along one of the Massachusetts Rail Trails or even in the Becker College neighborhood if I’m at work, makes me want to walk longer.

The music I listen to also propels my step. Make a walking mix to get yourself grooving as you move!

What are your favorite on-the-go songs? Tweet them to @fchp_tips on Twitter or e-mail them to share@fchp.org. We'll be making an FCHP Walking Mix, featured in the next blog post.

Walk on!

More info

Here are other sites and articles about this topic:

Massachusetts Railtrails

Walking route planners

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The information written about in this blog is not intended to be medical advice. Please seek care from a medical professional when you have a health concern.