Walking is increasingly being rated as an excellent means of staying fit and healthy. It is natural form of exercise that we do every day to some extent. For those who consider it a form of exercise the risks of suffering an injury are low as long as you follow a gradual programme and don't do too much too soon. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes with adequate support and shock absorption and a watch with a second hand if you want to measure the intensity of your walk by measuring the heart rate. The benefits that you derive from walking are dependant on many factors that include, how frequently you walk, the distance covered and the intensity of your walks.
While a half-hour amble through the park might do wonders to reduce your stress levels, it would not do much in terms of weight loss. However, a programme of regular brisk walking (six to eight km), combined with an energy-controlled, low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet should cut some body fat.
. Make your walks a priority. Unless you recognize them as an essential feature of your lifestyle, you will soon abandon them.
. Try to convince a friend to join you. You can motivate one another and chat while walking. Ideally, get your spouse to walk too.
. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes. Take the advice of well-trained staff at the shoe shop.
. Set yourself a goal and reward yourself when you achieve it. Positive reinforcement is strongly linked to success and sustainability.
. Monitor your progress, keep track of the distance walked, how long it took and what your exercising heart rate over a 10-second period is. Also measure your waist, hips and chest every month.
. Find an attractive variety of routes to avoid boredom. A food idea is to measure out a 3-5 km route, which you walk as fast as you can once a week.
. Read up on the benefits of regular walking, i.e. a decrease in your risk of suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, obesity, type 2 diabetes, anxiety and depression. This information will strengthen your resolve.
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. Don't expect significant weight loss in the first few weeks. Walking 3-4 times a week at a moderate to high intensity can result in fat loss, if combined with high carbohydrate, low-fat meals.
. Don't walk alone in the dark and wear a reflective belt/clothing at dawn or dusk.
. Don't miss sessions early on in your programme. In a few months, you will probably be addicted to it.
. Don't overdo it. Many people start off totally fired up and think that mote is better and add in extra sessions. this leads to burnout and is not sustainable.
The Starting Point-
. Men over 40. women over the 50 and those with either a chronic disease or risk factors musk seek medical advice.
. Purchase a pair of suitable walking shoes, a watch with a second hand and a reflective belt.
. Measure out routes ranging from 2-5 km in a safe and attractive suburb.
. Do some baseline measurements as well as your walking sessions.
. Warm up for five minutes before starting out on your walk.
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