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Monday, June 27, 2016

Walk Your Way to Fitness

Walking may not be the first thing you think about when planning a workout. But maybe it should be.

It is often overlooked as an important form of exercise. Yet walking is super affordable (pretty much free!), can be done anywhere, and all you need is a pair of comfortable and supportive shoes.

And the benefits are countless...healthy bones and joints, improved muscle tone, cardiovascular conditioning, and even weight loss.

In as little as 30 minutes a day, five days a week, you can achieve a great workout.

Here are some simple tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) on how to establish a successful walking routine:
  • Warm up as you would before any workout--do a few gentle stretches, then walk slowly for five minutes, and later pick up speed to get your heart rate going.
  • Swing your arms from side-to-side, or front-to-back. Choose any motion that is comfortable to add some momentum.
  • Keep your back straight and pull in your abdominal muscles.
  • Take long, lengthy strides rather than short, quick steps.
  • Cool down with a slower pace again for about five minutes once you are done.
  • Every two weeks, add another five minutes to your walk to build strength and endurance. Also, visit some hilly areas or stairs on your route for an additional challenge.
  • If you are up for it, try using one to five-pound ankle or arm weights as you walk for an extra calorie burn.

Don't forget to bring a water bottle along to stay hydrated as you walk, especially during these hot summer months. A good rule is to drink one pint of water 15 minutes before you start walking, and another pint after you finish.

(Courtesy of AAOS)

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