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)

43 thoughts on “Walking 101

  1. My husband & I love to take a walk. Now be aware a walk to us is at least 7 miles no less than 20 a day. We walk everywhere & love it!! It has brought us closer in the relationship but also helped us lose weight, get off some medicine, make friends & make it through COVID. We see things through a different lens by walking all over Greenville, SC area.

  2. Hi. I am just starting to get into walking, this week is my first restart. Thanks for the advice last year was a hard one for me. I just need to reopen my life I think walking will be a good start. Now I feel like I am all alone. Even when there are so many people around. I can’t explain it. Things bother me that have never bothered me before I just don’t like how it makes me feel. So. Walking I hope will make me feel better.

  3. In Florida if you DON’T look down you could easily step on a snake. YES, even on the sidewalk. Or stumble on uneven pavement. I always look where I am going. You just don’t know what might be on the sidewalk.

  4. I walk 2 miles 4 days a week. Two days with a friend who has a very long drive way that has a steep incline (16 laps equals 2 miles or 32 flights of stairs). The other 2 days I walk the 2 miles on a walking track at an in door fitness center. Walking and talking with a friend definitely is more pleasant and the time goes by much quicker. I do an 18 minute mile at the fitness center. But it takes us 45 minutes to do 2 miles at my friend’s house but we’re climbing (and descending).

  5. This is a great article on how to walk. I wish some one had told me this before my husband and I started walking many years ago. Now we walk the right way and enjoy it. It was hard to do when every one was confined to the house but now we can go along and do our thing.

  6. I just started walking and am doing it the way suggestion in the article. Sadly, I didn’t realize how out of shape I was, but know that consistency will pay off in the end.

    It was good advice about starting slow and building up. Thank you

  7. Long strides come naturally to me. I have never thought of this as something I should NOT do when walking.

  8. I like to listen to music while I walk. It’s a great past time and being outdoors is a plus. I usually walk 40-60 minutes and wear good comfortable shoes. Walking helps keep you active and healthy.

  9. We have 2 dogs. On work days when I’m going to juggle for 2 hours, we have a short walk in the morning; short meaning 8 block round trip. I call it the “horseshoe”. On days I’m not planning on juggling, I take my boy for a mile or two so he can chase bunnies off leash, either at a high school or a retired landfill.

    On evenings that my partner and I walk the dogs together, it’s about a mile. We visit (and bark with) doggies that my dog likes to bark with, and we visit a horse my dog is in love with because she is tall and has long legs and is so beautiful and he just wants to chase her and eat her poo. But there is a fence in the way and he can’t, so he just barks at her to profess his undying love. If I’m walking the dogs alone, we go 2 blocks farther than “Gracy’s lane” (the horse’s road). This takes us on a parallel road to the horse, but extends the walk half a mile farther through a park and school. This makes the evening walk over a mile longer.

    On weekend mornings, if I’m not in a rush, I let my dog choose the walk. We sometimes walk up to 4 miles. We see sights. We sniff for bunnies. It really isn’t hard on the body and since I have my best boy with me, we have a grand time together.

    If anyone in my area wants to borrow a dog and go for fun evening walks, I am happy to invite you to join us.

  10. With COVID-19 moving me to WFH I realized early on how much walking I did at work and I replaced it with a M-F walk for an hour (3.5 miles). I think I should probably split that in half and/or do 2 miles in am and pm but It is hard to fit in a walk. By days end I am exhausted from sitting at a computer with the one break a day. I have gone thru 3 pairs of sneakers which is new for me. I don’t want to go to a gym – I don’t find gyms inspiring or supportive.

  11. Since I walk for fitness outside, I prefer not to listen to music so I am able to stay alert to sounds around me. But of course while in my home exercising, music or talk is always on! For me it is has always been important to have good sturdy shoes on. I have found in the past that not having this can cause issues with your knees and ankles. They don’t have to be expensive, just sturdy.

  12. In England, we walk for pleasure & enjoyment, & not so much for ‘exercise’, as most of us don’t need it. Many aspects of daily life there have changed since I came to live in the USA, but my old friends & neighbors still eat healthily, don’t overeat, & regularly walk at least a couple of miles–often on footpaths, & sometimes on trails through (or around the perimeter of) fields–to visit friends. On weekends, they may collect a friend or two & walk along the sea cliffs to the next village or town, or simply continue walking & enjoying the scenery & fresh air until they feel the need for an ice cream or a ‘nice cup of tea’, at which point they descend to the seafront (the ‘Esplanade’) & repair to a cafe, after which they may walk (or catch a bus) home. Admittedly, some of these walks are conversation-filled strolls, but the cliff-walks tend to be brisk & bracing, & frequently involve fairly steep hills, & clambering over stiles & gates. Asked what I miss most about my homeland, I invariably reply, “Being able to walk everywhere–with no special shoes, clothing, or gear required!”

  13. Yes I love to walk. I try to do it very day for at least an hour. I have a fitness tracker which is set for 7000 steps. Sometimes I go over that amount. Plus the other movement I have during the day increases the steps. I used to live right next to a park with a walking trail. I have a friend who also walks every day so we would do it together. i now live in a bigger apartment community. But I have discovered that if I walk one time around the whole complex it is the same amount of steps as one time around the park. I still plan to go back to the park on some days to walk with my friend.

  14. I have jogged and walked for many years and find it relaxes the mind and the body.

  15. Yes it safe to travel if everyone wear a face mask and keep the distance

Comments are closed.