4 Helpful Hints to Make Walking Easier and Fun!
We are in the full swing of spring, and that means that I can get back to getting some of my exercise done outdoors again. Now that my toddlers are older, I can take them along with me to get them outside and active as well. One of the activities I like to do to keep myself fit is walking. I love it! It is simple, I have all the equipment I need at home, and I can do it alone, or with my family! Whether alone or as part of a group, I like to get in at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week to improve my body, mind and spirit.
Here are a few walking tips I use while I walk myself fit to make this workout fun and safe:
1. Layering my clothing
People react differently to running. Some like wearing more clothing than others while running incase the weather may change while you working out. This is why it is a good idea to wear layers when you go out for a walk. I like wearing a t-shirt or tank top with a pair of running pants or shorts. If the weather seems a bit unpredictable, I will also carry a shell or a light sweater with me to help keep the unexpected cold or rain off of me while I workout. I also like to carry a bottle of water to keep hydrated while walking.
2. Warm up first, cool down afterwards
Before starting my walk, I like to do some warm up exercises to get my body ready for the workout ahead of it. I like to a series of stretches to warm up my muscles so my muscles will not be very sore after my walk, and to increase my heart rate. It only takes a few minutes, but it will benefit me after walking. I also like to do a bit of a cool down exercises after my walk to make the transition for my body from my walk back to a more stationary easier one.
3. Choose different routes to make walking more fun
Going for a walk is great, but taking the same route every time will make my walk seem like more of a chore than a fun activity. I like to take a few different routes when I go for my walks. There is always something new to see in a neighbourhood. From time to time, I like to take a longer way during my walk to see some of my favourite homes, or to see more scenic places to make the time go by faster and to make my walk more enjoyable. I am also lucky to live in a part of Ottawa where walking paths are at abundance, so they can add to my list of routes to take. Taking these routes also help my children become more familiar with the neighbourhood they live in, so they will be able to navigate their way around easier when they are older.
4. Protect your feet
Walking to keep fit is a wonderful workout to improve my physical, mental and emotional well-being, but there are times that my feet get the brunt of my workout. To prevent the development of blisters on my feet, I like to turn to Life Brand Anti-Blister Stick. When I apply it to my feet, it goes on clear, and it is non-greasy, so I do not have to wait for it to dry too long to get going with my workout. I also like that it prevents chafing, so that my feet do not feel raw or sore after going for a brisk walk.
These ideas are just some of the tips I use to walk myself fit! It is a great exercise that gets me away from my desk, and when I do this with my family, it allows for us to make fun discoveries and to make some great memories together.
Do you walk to get fit? What other tips and hints do you use in your walking regime?
Did you know?
Did you know that inactivity is the second most preventable cause of death in North America, after smoking? Almost 40% of adults spend the majority of the day sitting and only half of all adults do enough exercise to gain any health or fitness benefits. Is this you? Want to change that? You don’t have to join an expensive fitness club or start something that requires special training or equipment. Just get walking!
Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to up your fitness level. You can do it outdoors in fine weather and indoors, in malls or some public buildings in bad weather. It can be just as beneficial as jogging to your health.
Ideally, work up to walking 30-60 minutes a day, most days of the week. This is what experts recommend for your health and fitness. Walking can help you reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. It will lift your mood, improve balance, circulation and brain function and make your bones healthier.
Here are tips to get started:
- Before starting a walking program check with your Doctor. Even if you have certain medical conditions or are recovering from recent injury, you will likely still be able to walk. Just get advice first.
- Buy good walking shoes. This is the only equipment expense, but a good pair of walking shoes is important. Make sure they fit without pinching or pressure and try them on with the socks you plan to wear. The shoes should have good arch support and a slightly elevated heel with strong support at the back to cradle your heel and prevent sideways movement.
- Warm up first. Walk at a normal pace for about 5 minutes before upping your speed. And start your walk itself with a simple goal – perhaps 10-15 minutes. Gradually increase the distance.
- Walk properly. Head up, back straight, tummy in and use a good heel-to-toe motion. Swing your arms. Keep the length of your stride moderate. Walk at a pace that challenges you and raises your heart rate (your breathing will increase), but make sure you can still talk. If you can’t, you’re overdoing it.
- Carry and drink water – This is important if you walk in hot weather or over long distances.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. – The sun can burn you any time of year.
- Wear layers – You will warm up as you go, so it’s best to wear clothing in layers you can remove and put in a small backpack or tie around your waist.
- Keep it interesting and varied – We all get bored if we don’t change it up. Walk with a buddy or in a group, vary your route and look for different types of terrain (hills, valleys). Time yourself and challenge yourself to finish sooner. Enjoy the sights and sounds around you.
- Cool down and stretch afterward. Walk at a slower pace for another 5 minutes at the end. Gently stretch your hamstrings by standing on a step and, holding the handrail, let your heels drop below the edge of the step. Do this a few times.
- Be aware of your foot health. Don’t wait for injury to sideline you. Check your feet frequently to make sure you are not developing blisters, corns or calluses. If you are prone to blisters, they might be prevented by using the Life Brand Anti-Blister Stick. If you develop foot problems or get blisters, corns or calluses, protect and treat them promptly. Check with your Doctor, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation. Your Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacist can also advise you on which Life Brand Corn and Callus Cushions or Removers are right for you.
If some days you cannot manage a full walk, do a short one – go out and walk at lunch. Work more of it into your day: get off the bus early or park further from your destination, walk up or down a few floors in your office building, or walk to do your errands. Walk yourself fitter- any way you can!