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If you are just starting out walking, it can feel quite daunting… Where do you walk?  What will the walk be like? What do you need to wear? What do you need to take? How exactly, do you walk?

Lots of questions, but we’ve got the answers on WalkingShoeGuide.

What you will need: comfortable walking shoes and comfortable walking clothing.

Where to Walk

Walk anywhere you like, whether it’s indoors on a treadmill or outside at the park, by the sea or around your local neighborhood. Experiment with different routes that will challenge you with hills and varying terrains.

How to walk

walking beginner guideIt’s important to make sure your walking form is correct.  Proper walking form maximizes the positive benefits of your walking routine and minimizes the risk of injury. There are many different walking techniques specific to the walking style you are engaged in.

  1. Step forward landing squarely on the heel of your foot. Strike the ground first with your heel.
  2. Roll forward onto the ball of the foot.
  3. Raise the heel and push off with your big toe.
  4. Bring the back leg forward to strike again with the heel.

Elongate your body. Hold your head up and eyes forward. Your shoulders should be down, back and relaxed. Now, tighten your Abs (tummy) and glutes (bottom) and fall into a natural stride.

Keep your head up in a neutral position resting on your spine.

Eyes forward, not looking down, rather looking 20 feet ahead

Do not lean forward or lean back. Leaning puts strain on the back muscles.

Keep your arms low but slighty bend. Don’t swing them front to back excessively. Keep them loose and relaxed during your walk.

Lift you chest slightly. Breath deeply, expanding your stomach rather than your chest.

Don’t forget, always warm up and cool down. Warming up at a slow pace will help prepare your joints, muscles and heart for exercise. Cooling down will prepare your body to return to a resting state, help prevent muscle soreness, and prevent illness and injury.

How long/far should I walk ?

DON’T focus too much on speed or distance. When you’re new to walking, it doesn’t matter how far or how fast you go. Instead, focus on slowly building up your time and walking at a comfortable pace for you. Greater speeds and distances will come as you get fitter!

Start with a half-mile walk, three to four times a week. If you’ve been inactive, 15 minutes of walking may be plenty for your first few weeks. (It’s a good idea to discuss your plans with your doctor.) Then increase the frequency, aiming for a 30-to 60-minute walk each day of the week. Increase the time you spend walking each week before working on speed.

How fast should I walk?

The actual speed you walk doesn’t matter as much as your intensity does.Walk at a brisk—not leisurely—pace. If you can comfortably answer a question during exercise, while still feeling like you’re exerting yourself and breathing a little heavier, you’re usually working at the right intensity.

Frequency

Aim for a minimum of 3 walking days per week, and gradually work your way up to 5 or 6 days per week as you get fitter. For most people, walking can be done almost every day of the week because it’s low-impact and not as intense as other fitness programs. But don’t forget the importance of rest and recovery. Give yourself at least 1-2 days off each week.

Photo by Ed Yourdon