Tips for Walkers

Many people may look at running sites and articles like mine and think, "No way...I hate running. I'd never do that." So here is an article just for you. Walking can give you some of the same benefits of running and it's something everyone can do. Below are some quick tips for beginning a walking program.

If you are completely sedentary, start out slow and easy. Head out for 10 minutes, then back for 10 minutes. Do this 4 days a week. The next week, add 5 minutes to the walk. Keep adding 5 minutes each week until you are walking your desired length of time. Just as in running, keep your back straight, body tall, and shoulders relaxed. Follow your natural stride and try to keep the abs tight.

After about 4 weeks of the above routine, or when you can walk 35-45 minutes at least 4 days/week, you should take a look at your walking goals. If you are walking for general health benefits, try and walk for 30 minutes most days of the week at a comfortable pace. If you are walking for improved cardiovascular benefits, walk for 20-30 minutes 3 to 4 days/week at a fast pace. You should be breathing hard, but not gasping.  Finally, if you are walking for weight loss, you should walk 45-60 minutes a day for 5 days/week at a very fast pace.

Just as with a running program, your walking program should start out slow and progressively build distance and speed. For cardiovascular benefits, the key is walking fast enough to get your heart rate up. An average fitness walking pace is close to a 15 minute mile. This may not be for everyone, though. Use the talk test. If you are walking so fast you can't talk without gasping for air, then you are walking too fast. If you can sing a song, you are walking too slow.

If you want some of the same benefits as running without the running, then give a walking program a try. Remember, any amount of walking is better than none and I guarantee you will sleep better, have more energy, and feel less stressed.

Written by Genie Bianchi

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