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Walk Your Way to Fitness

Posted by SoundHealth on Sunday, December 07, 2008
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Walking is great form of exercise that anyone can do to improve their fitness or to lose weight. It does not require any special equipment and is a great low impact and low intensity exercise that even those who are ill or frail can enjoy.

Walking has great health benefits; it reduces blood pressure, and tones and strengthens the bones and muscles. Research has also shown that brisk walking can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Here are some tips to help achieve the most from your walks.

  • Begin walking at a slow pace to get warmed up, and then increase your pace to a brisk, constant walk. This increases the heart-rate and breathing and will make you burn more calories.

  • Allow your arms to swing freely at your sides. This aids momentum and provides you with a consistent rhythm.

  • Smaller steps are more productive than larger strides; they will not tire the muscles and will cover more ground over a greater distance.

  • Aim to control your breathing, take in deep breaths and exhale consistently and evenly throughout the walk.

The length of your walk depends the benefits you wish to gain from it.

  • To maintain health with regular physical activity, aim to walk for about 20 minutes several days a week.

  • To manage your weight, walk for up to 45 minutes at a comfortable pace for as many days as possible. Aim to keep the pace constant, however finish slightly out of breath.

  • For cardiovascular fitness, aim to walk for 20 minutes at a fast pace, for a few sessions per week, increasing both your breathing and heart rate, whilst staying in a comfortable condition.

Exercise should never be painful, if you feel any severe pain, see your doctor immediately, telling them your symptoms.

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