As temperatures decrease and nature colors the outdoors, fall is the perfect time to walk for fitness. Walking is an easy activity to add into your schedule because it’s so accessible. It can be done almost anywhere and doesn’t require a schedule, transportation or special outfits- just good shoes.
Here are a few pointers to ponder:
1) Vary your stride length and speed then use visual sites or time for goals. For example, walk two minutes with short, fast steps followed by two minutes of slower, longer steps. Or walk as quickly as you can past three houses, then slow down for six houses.
2) No spaghetti arms or twists! Swing your arms from the shoulder without letting your hands cross an imaginary line down the center of your body. Keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees can help you take a faster step and increase your walking speed. Avoid using hand weights as they can negatively affect your posture and slow your pace.
3) If you’re just getting started, there’s no need to overdo. Start with a few yards at a time or just five minutes. This can be done two to three times per day until you’ve developed enough endurance to do 15-30 minutes consecutively.
4) Get a walking buddy, but if you are at different fitness levels, walking side by side on a treadmill might be best so you can both walk at appropriate speeds.
5) Make sure you always tell someone where you’re walking and for how long you expect to be gone.
6) Be sure of your footing by choosing a well-groomed trail, clear sidewalks, an indoor or outdoor track or treadmill.
7) Include some strength and balance exercises in your daily routine to help prevent trips and falls.
October is Walktober Month at FirstHealth Fitness. Throughout the month, join us for group walks and walking clinics to learn techniques and tips to keep your walks safe, fit and fun. Come by any of our centers and pick up a Walktober Challenge Tracking Sheet to log your walking minutes and be eligible for prizes. For more information, click here or call (910) 715-1800.
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