Walking 101


The last year has been tough on those of us who like to exercise and a good excuse for those of don’t want to. But the reality is the human body needs movement and it actually doesn’t take much activity to keep yourself fit.

 

Many people assume exercising means doing something exhausting or painful or they’re just plain intimidated by the idea of working out with others. In fact, a recent study found that half of people felt the idea of working out in a gym environment daunting and nearly another third said they were anxious about trying to get in shape.

 

The great news is there’s an activity you can do anywhere, any time that improves your circulation, stops the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis, lightens your mood, helps you lose weight, strengthens your muscles and joints, and improves your sleep.

 

It’s walking, of course, and it’s one of the easiest aerobic exercises around.

 

Here are a few tips to get the most out of walking:

 

·       Shoes: You don’t need fancy $300 running shoes to walk but make sure you’re wearing comfortable running, hiking or tennis shoes that support your feet.

 

·       Warm up: Do a few minutes of warming up and stretches — things like lunges, calf raises and leg swings — to loosen up your muscles and ensure you don’t cramp up later.

 

·       Push yourself: If you haven’t gone on long walks or exercised in a while (or ever), start with a 20-minute leisurely walk three or four times a week. If you’re not breaking a sweat or in pain or you feel like you can handle a bit more exertion, increase your walk time by 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Or walk for the same amount of time but pick up the pace and walk more briskly.

 

·       Practice good form: Not all walking is the same. The kind of walking we’re talking about here isn’t the kind of walking you’d do while shopping in the mall. It requires a little more technique while you’re doing it. For instance, you’ll want to keep your head up, lengthen your back, keep your shoulders down and back and swing your arms. Here is a good rundown of how to walk properly.

 

·       Play music: Walking — or doing any exercise — to the beat of music can make it feel easier and more fun. Create a playlist you can listen to during your walk, but always make sure you can hear background noise around you, like approaching cars or bicycles.

 

·       Cool down: Stretch your legs muscles — including your hamstrings and calves — when you’re done to keep them limber and reduce muscle pain later.

 

·       COVID: Even though vaccinations are in full swing, the pandemic isn’t over yet. Make sure to wear a mask whenever you head outside and especially if you may come into contact with others.

 

Are you a walker? Please share your tips with other Shop Talk blog community members.


Did you know: Walking don’ts

 

To prevent injury while walking, avoid looking down, taking long strides, slouching or wearing the wrong shoes. (Source)

40 thoughts on “Walking 101

  1. I love to walk and that’s my main source of activity. I walk for an hour every morning and I make sure to get a minimum of10,000 steps a day. Please don’t advise people to wear masks outdoors. Even the CDC no longer recommends that unless you’re close to other people and even then, transmission of COVID is much more difficult outdoors.

  2. I think walking g is excellent exercise it opens your lung’s.,and gets. circulation pumping .wearing properly fitted shoes will save your back and knee’s from injury.

  3. I nearly always go walking with music. It’ keeps my pace up and if I get stuck at a red light I can march in place to the music.

  4. This is what I miss the most. I used to live in PA, in a town where my family are known, and most look out for each other. My ex sister in law and I would walk for hours, miles, just walking. Sometimes, if the time of the year was right, we’d take buckets and pick berries, other times we would walk to the mall (a couple miles), and other times, we would just walk and talk. Now, though, I live in CA. Not safe to walk where I am, first off, then, a year and a half ago I broke my back, and then covid hit, so that was the end of any thought of walking for a while.

  5. Right before the pandemic hit, my cat died. He was always around, and I felt it hard to be home without him. My husband and I started walking just to get out of the house and distract me. Then Covid… there was not much else you could do. So we continued walking everyday unless the weather was really bad. We are still walking, taking in beautiful sights and breathing fresh air. My job requires a lot of sitting and a daily walk has made so much difference in how my body feels.

  6. My husband and I walk every single day, weather permitting. We started slow, but now move along quite smartly. Also, we make sure that we wear shoes that are comfortable with good support. Many shoes make it feel as though you are walking on air and we are able to go quite a distance for a couple in our mid-seventies plus. Often now that the weather is warmer we are able to walk in the afternoon and in the evening. We usually walk at least 2-3 miles. Most often we walk on sidewalks around our neighborhood and also drive to other areas to do the same. Sometimes we drive to parks and walk around them. What is important is just to get out and keep moving. It’s easier the more we do. I have lost some weight and we’re both in much better shape. 🙂

  7. A walking buddy keeps you honest when you are tempted to not go, because of other chores….The chores are real, but once you miss one day, it is so easy to miss more and pretty soon, you are tired, but you haven’t walked at all…Of course, you do the same for the buddy, that is how it is supposed to work, and the chance to chat and catch up on news after so long in house arrest is not to be missed. I love walking with my dogs, but they have their own agenda….they don’t care how far or how long or what their heart rate is….they want to sniff every object along the way

  8. It makes me feel better after I walk. I try to walk daily 30 minutes, 45 or an hour walks. It’s gonna be tougher in the summer time because of the heat but I will walk early in the mornings or wait until the evening. I even do free walking videos on youtube when I can’t get outside.

    1. Oh also use hand weights and leg ankle weights for a more challenging walk. Don’t forget to hydrate. Water water water!

  9. I don’t have anything fancy (I use my Skecher Go-Walks) and just doing the everyday chores around the rural home and my property is enough walking to make most gasp (NOPE .. no city here with fancy gyms either).

    I may not walk without issues anymore (I have had Total Knee Replacements) and with my Spine Fusion – there’s me, somewhat slower, still doing what I do (although there’s me also with a cart behind the lawn tractor pulling my yard work tools behind it), and yes, using that cart to move around the fill dirt, the mulch too. Bottom line, no lunges for me (Can’t risk falling!), but there’s other ways to slowly start out and get in the ‘swing’ of just moving. And when you are uncomfortable, slow down, relax a little and then get back up again. YES, this is called REALITY and needing more time is a reality of being older.

    NO worries for me about Wearing a mask. I don’t live that close to others at all. (which is fine by me!). ALSO — are you aware of the relaxation of the mask guidance now?

    Final comment, there’s never going to be a perfect way to just walk (especially for those of us who have permanent disabilities). DO what you need to do to get up and get moving. Even if it means that you combine it with other chores and even your gardening – it is still exercise. (just doesn’t seem many realize how much exercise we do everyday with everyday life).

  10. I thought that I would add that even injury should not preclude one from exercise. I am excellent proof. After breaking my back, in December, 2017, I was on pain meds, for almost three months, just to let my back begin to heal. It was after being removed from pain meds that I found out that lingering pain was from my back trying to heal. This is when I restarted my daily Yoga exercises, and the pain vanished. I am also happy to say that, with these daily exercises (which can be done INDOORS), I have increased my strength, stamina, and so on. Being inside is no excuse not to exercise. To feel your best, daily stretches are a wonderful source, of feeling better. Walking, and bicycle riding are good, as well.

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