If looking for a simple activity to maintain your health, fitness walking could be the ideal option. Fitness walking can improve health, increase endurance, and even help manage stress. Walking can be included in your routine exercise schedule to relax after a busy day or to help you achieve your weight loss goal. The benefits of fitness walking include improved cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, and lower risk of type II diabetes. Here are ten strategies that can help you get the most out of fitness walking:
- Pay attention to the fit and quality of shoes you wear. Invest in good shoes that support your heel when walking and prevent wobbling.
- Warming up and cooling down before and after walking can prevent muscular stiffness and injury. The best warm up before walking is to walk slowly, gently stretch your leg muscles and then gradually increase speed. Likewise, a gradual cool down is also recommended after a brisk walk.
- Swing your arms faster to increase your pace and your legs will automatically follow it.
- To increase stride length, increase your walking speed by taking smaller and faster steps.
- According to an article in FamilyCircle, a study from the Journal of Sports & Exercise Psychology found that music can literally move you. The study found that when people walked in time to fast-tempo music (about over 120 beats per minute) with a strong rhythm, they walked 15 percent longer than those who did not listen to music. The article recommends music with around 120 to 145 beats per minute to maximize walking workouts.
- Choose a bike path or long stretch roads, hills, beaches and different parks for walking. This will avoid the need for stops and slowdowns that are caused by crossing streets or waiting for traffic lights.
- Quieten your mind while you walk, and concentrate on your steps, body and on your breathing. Meditation is not the only way to calm and quieten your mind–walking can also help.
- When walking with a friend or group of friends, walk at a brisk and steady speed while enjoying their company. Walking with a companion or taking a new route now and then can make the activity more enjoyable.
- Try interval training. This involves alternating short bursts of high-intensity activity with lower to moderate intensity activity. Mayo Clinic reports that one study found that walkers improved their fitness by simply alternating between three minutes of fast walking and three minutes of slow walking for 30 minutes or more four times a week.