Walking is a low impact cardiovascular exercise, and is often one of the first activities to be recommended by your doctor. A consistent walking routine can help with weight loss, stress, mood and can help prevent more serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
If you’re thinking about starting a daily walk to lose a few pounds here’s what you should know:
For most people, the thought of spending $60-$80 on a pair of shoes dedicated to walking will seem absurd. If you’re new to walking, you’re more inclined to reach for the nearest pair of old tennis shoes and head out the door.
Shoes are shoes, right?
Not when it comes to walking and running long distances. Your feet aren’t going to be used to an extended amount of repetitive stress, increasing the likelihood of fatigue and injury. A good pair of shoes can reduce the stress on your arch and heel, and keep you on the road without getting hurt.
A walking injury sounds pretty harmless, but limping around with a bad arch will impact all facets of your daily life.
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Start With Short Walks
Like any other muscle or body part your feet, ankles, and knees will need to build a tolerance to increased activity. An ideal walk would be for 30-60 minutes, but this should be your long term goal and not a starting point.
If you’re too aggressive with your daily walks, in the initial stages, you’re more likely to experience an injury due to fatigue. Ease in to your routine, and make your walks progressively longer every few weeks.
Unless you live near a beach or the mountains, walking around the same neighborhood — seeing the same trees, and same houses everyday will get incredibly boring.
Unlike many other physical activities that require focus and concentration, walking can give you an extra 30-60 minutes of “free time” everyday. Use this as an opportunity to enjoy new music, or download an audio book you wouldn’t normally have time to read.
Going for a daily walk can be therapeutic if you have a close friend to talk with. Having a walking buddy can make exercise seem less like work, and more like a get together for casual conversation.
Whether it’s walking, or any other exercise plan, having someone who shares your goals creates a level of accountability that will promote long term success. If you know someone is expecting, and waiting for you to start exercising you’re less likely to skip your workout.
Related: 10 ways to cut 100 calories each day
Be Ready For Aches
Aches and pains are going to happen, so it’s better to be prepared and have a plan before you start a daily walking routine.
Here’s some quick tips for aches and soreness:
– Elevate your feet to reduce swelling
– Use OTC painkillers for temporary relief
– Use a foot roller for an arch massage
– Use hot/cold therapy to relieve aches
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