Lifestyle | Walking to Fitness

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Not everyone is programmed to run a marathon or go to the gym. Walking, on the other hand, can be an easy and effective way to feeling healthy.

When thinking of ways to keep fit and manage our health, we often think of the extreme exercises and routines that can kick us into shape.

A marathon. A four-day gym routine. Spinning. Tough exercises but ones that can (hopefully!) yield instant results.

Unfortunately, such exercises are a lot tougher than we think they are. As such, we tend to give them up after short period of time.

We often disregard the easiest and most inexpensive forms of exercise – walking. When done right and consistently, walking can be an effective exercise.

Walking may be easy but you can still get injured. As such, you should incorporate a number of warm-up and cool-down stretches into your walking routine. Start your walk at a slow warm-up rate, and then stop to do stretches. Ideally, you should only do stretches five to seven minutes into your walk.

If you have not been active for a while, start slowly to avoid injury. A brisk 10-minute walk outside or on a treadmill should do the trick. Do this every day for a week, and add five minutes to your walk the following week.

Continue to add five to 10 minutes to each workout until you are walking as long as you desire, and are able to. Your overall aim is to walk fast enough to reach your target heart rate, but slow enough that you can still maintain a conversation.

Using good posture allows you to breathe easier, to be more comfortable and avoid back pain. Walking regularly is the only way to maintain a good pace and overall health. Add walking into your weekly schedule and monitor your progress.

More importantly, enjoy the exercise!