Walking accomplishes all the following and more:
- Improves cardiovascular endurance
- Tones muscles of the lower body
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Burns calories: about 80 if walking 2 miles per hour and about 107 if walking 4.5 miles per hour
Walking for just 12 minutes every other day can offer important health benefits, but in order to increase your longevity, you should try to walk for up to 30 minutes, five days per week. Experts generally agree that to be considered “active,” adults should try to take 10,000 steps each day. Wearing a pedometer or an activity tracker is an easy way to track your progress.
The following tips can help you get started on your walking regimen:
- Move your arms freely, in coordination with the opposite leg.
- Don’t stoop your head or look down as you walk. This will challenge the normal forward curve of your neck, which in turn will cause you to carry your weight improperly.
- Don’t carry weights or dumbbells while walking. They’re better used as a separate part of your exercise regime.
- Expect a little soreness in the thighs and calves for the first week or two. If you experience more than soreness, consult your doctor of chiropractic.
- Walk briskly, with “purpose.” Simply sauntering, while relaxing, is not an effective form of cardiovascular exercise.
- Stay hydrated. You should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily.
Avoid caffeinated drinks, including energy drinks, prior to and during your walk. They can cause dehydration and a racing heartbeat.