It is generally agreed that walking is one of the best forms of exercise as it contributes to circulation, maintains weight control, and promotes overall good physical and mental health. However, if you have not walked for sometime, getting a little older or have a long-term illness or disability then it is worth taking note of the following tips.
10 Outdoor Walking Tips For All Ages
- Medical check-up – see your doctor for a check-up before starting on any new exercise programme, particularly if you are overweight, haven’t exercised in a long time or suffer from a chronic medical condition.
- Warm-up – start slowly, do a few warm-up exercises and stretches first, paying particular attention to your legs. Don’t walk immediately after a big meal, allow at least 30 minutes.
- Build activity slowly – if you have not walked for some time then this is very important. You do not have to go mad and walk miles straight away. Just start with a 10-20 minute walk then increase gradually. Only increase the work load when you are happy and if you find it too tiring, then reduce the duration. Try to walk at least three times per week.
- Correct technique – maintaining the correct posture is very important if you are to avoid injury or excess pain. Walk at a steady pace, swinging your arms freely and stand as straight as you can. Your feet should step in a rolling action from the heel to the toe.
- Shoes and socks – when it comes to walking, your feet are the most important asset you have. Wear thick comfortable socks, or preferably two pairs – one thin next to the skin and one thicker. Wear sensible, comfortable walking shoes or boots and ensure they are laced up properly. Badly fitting or poorly laced shoes and boots will lead to blisters, painful feet and general discomfort when walking.
- Weather – wear suitable warm, light clothing in the winter and cool, comfortable clothes in the summer. The best way to dress is by layering, this allows you to regulate your body temperature by adding or removing layers of clothing. Don’t forget your sunscreen, hat and gloves.
- Water – drink plenty water before and after your walk. Always take water with you on your walk drinking little and often, especially in warm weather. Rather than carry lots of heavy water, buy one of the filter bottles that allow you to take water from streams and puddles safely, such as the APT from Pure Hydration.
- Cool down – this is as important and the warm-up. Make sure you cool down after a long fast walk. Do a few stretching exercises paying particular attention to your legs. This will help prevent the build up of lactic acid in the muscles with can lead to aching limbs and cramps
- Walking club – consider joining a walking club specific to your needs and age group. You will find most towns will have one, such as the Ramblers. Walking with a group gives you that impetus to get out there and walk. If however, there is not one close to you, then why not start-up your own walking club with some like-minded friends.
- Assistance – many people have different needs and requirements due to ongoing health issues or disability. You should never allow your health or disability to prohibit you from walking. Walk with someone who understands your needs and requirements, this will better help you to enjoy your walk.
- Walking is an excellent form of exercise for people of all ages and abilities.
- Prepare for a walk by warming up, wearing the correct clothing and shoes, and making sure that you are well hydrated. Warm down after a walk.
- See your doctor for a medical check-up before starting any new fitness program, particularly if you are over-weight, haven’t exercised in a long time or suffer from a medical condition.
At the end of the day, get out there and have fun walking