3 Quick Steps to Fitness

Start walking this week!

Source: A guide to Walking Routes in Bennington, Southwestern Vermont Health Care 2006

Image: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/multimedia/proper-walking-technique/img-20007670
Image: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/multimedia/proper-walking-technique/img-20007670

You don’t eat the same thing for dinner every night, so why do the same walk every day? Just like different foods provide different nutrients, a varied walking program challenges your body in different ways. What’s more, change prevents boredom so you are likely to stick with it! Vary your walks between long and slow and short and fast. Also vary your speed. On some days, walk as fast as you can (ensuring that you do not sacrifice form!), on other days walk more slowly, but for a longer distance.

Just Get Walking!

1. Walk with style!

  • Stand tall, lifting your chest and shoulders.
  • Gently pull in your abdominal muscles to prevent your lower back from arching.
  • Don’t take longer steps to walk faster. Focus on quicker steps instead.
  • Let your foot roll smoothly from heel to toe, pushing off strongly with your toes.
  • Don’t pump your arms forcefully. Let them bend at the elbow, and trace an arc from your waistband to the center of your chest.

2. Get motivated!

  • Walk everyday–even if just for 10 minutes.
  • Record your walking time every day.
  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re sore, back off for a day.
  • Reward yourself for big and little achievements.
  • Tell co-workers, family and friends about your goals. Encourage them to encourage you!
  • Inspire yourself with fitness magazines, new walking routes, walking partners, new workout clothes, or a before picture.
  • Walk briskly and with purpose.
  • Measure your success.

3. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes!

  • When purchasing walking shoes, look for:
  • A fairly low, rounded or beveled heel.
  • A flexible shoe that bends through the ball (not the arch), of the foot.
  • Look for a good fit–the shoe shouldn’t slip at the heel or bind or pinch anywhere. There should be a thumbnail’s width between your toes and the end of the shoe!

© Copyright Mark Fenton 2001

Adapted from walking tips by Mark Fenton, author of The complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss and Fitness. Host of “America’s Walking” on PBS television.

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