Walk This Way
Looking for the perfect workout? Just put one foot in front of
IF THE THOUGHT OF EXERCISING makes you want to
go back to bed, you're not alone. There's the ge ing up early, the
driving to the gym, the buying fancy workout clothes and the paying
for group classes you never seem to make it to. Quite frankly, it's
What if you could get in shape with an activity that was so
easy, almost anyone can do it? Plus, it's absolutely free and you
can do it anytime, anywhere. Sold? Well, it's called walking and
chances are, you have done it before without giving it much
thought. What you may not have realized is that walking is one of
the best exercises you can do.
"Mountains of research show that walking is good for the heart
and lungs, strengthens bones, helps protect against diseases like
diabetes and cancer and can even help boost mood," says Liz
Neporent, national spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise
and author of Fitness Walking for Dummies. "It can also be
a very effective weight loss strategy."
The federal government's Weight-Control Information Network
(WIN) says that in addition to strengthening bones, walking helps
build stamina, increase energy and tone muscles.
Beginning a walking program is simple. Get clearance from your
doctor rst if you have any chronic conditions that may be
exacerbated by exercise. Otherwise, you can be out the door as soon
as you a nd the proper attire. Choose clothing that will keep you
dry and comfortable. Shoes don't have to be fancy or expensive, but
Neporent suggests buying a pair of shoes specifically designed for
The only other gear you might want is something to keep track of
your progress. Use a watch to simply time your walks - aim for at
least 30 minutes a day, five or more days a week. Or strap on a
pedometer that will count your steps. The ultimate goal is 10,000
steps a day. Either method is effective.
As with any fitness regimen, the key to walking is staying
motivated to do it each day. Here are some tips to keep you
inspired to lace up daily:
Find a partner or join a walking group. You
will keep each other accountable and help the
time to pass more quickly.
Reward yourself for meeting your fitness goals.
Buy yourself a new outfit, schedule a massage or go to a concert.
Just don't reward yourself with an extra-large banana split - you
will undo all your hard work!
Sign up for a charity walk. You will get your
exercise and help out a good cause. One option is the annual
Arthritis Walk®, of which Massage Envy is the national sponsor.
Visit arthritis.org/walk-locations to find a walk in
Change it up. Instead of walking the
neighborhood, go hiking in a preserve. But even walking your
regular route in the opposite direction can help. Or take your
workout indoors and walk on a treadmill while watching TV.
- By Shelley Flannery