We have been enjoying a beautiful early spring with warm days and comfortable nights. This might be the perfect time for you to start a walking program. There are few other types of exercise that are as easy, accessible and affordable as walking.
Walking provides so many benefits for our bodies. It can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. It can help lower your blood pressure and help you control your type 2 diabetes. Walking can help manage your weight and improve your mood!
If it has been a while since you’ve done any type of exercise, you should check in with your doctor first and start gradually to prevent injury and sore muscles. Start with a time and distance that is comfortable for you – it might only be 5 to 10 minutes the first few days then gradually increase both time and distance.
Be sure that you wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Wear loose fitting clothing and dress in layers to accommodate the weather. If you are walking at night, wear reflective clothing so that motorists can easily see you!
Spend about 5 minutes at the beginning of your walk to warm up your muscles. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for about 5 minutes to cool down your muscles. Don’t forget to stretch!
Keep safety in mind when you walk outdoors. Walk with a friend when you can. Carry your cell phone, put your name and contact phone number in your pocket. Avoid dark and deserted areas, carry a whistle or pepper spray in case of an emergency, and don’t use a headset that might keep you from hearing traffic.
You can walk alone, with a friend or a pet. You could gather your entire family together! Some people will enjoy the peace and quiet of walking alone; others enjoy the time spent with family and friends doing an enjoyable activity. Whichever one of these appeals to you, lace up your walking shoes and start walking today!
Author: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University ExtensionFurther Reading: