Walking could be called the best exercise in there is. The human body is designed to walk long distances. Studies show that walking improves overall health and vitality. Furthermore, it has been shown to help prevent disease including cancer and heart disease as well as numerous other health benefits.
Walking is in Our Genes
Our most ancient ancestors were nomads who walked all the time. They followed the migrating herds and moved away from threatening conditions. Since the most ancient times, the human body has evolved to walk.
Walking moves and exercises almost every muscle in the body, it improves cardiovascular fitness, increases lung capacity and has been shown to improve almost every organ and glandular function. Regular walking strengthens the muscles that support to the lower back preventing injury.
Before starting a walking routine, it is important to assess what your current level of fitness is. First, see your doctor and get her okay.
Next, find a track at a local high school or wherever you can find a measured distance you can use again later. You are going to use this track as a measure, a test of how far you can walk after six weeks of building your strength and stamina.
The warm up is to let your muscles know that something is coming. It gives your body a chance to increase blood flow to the muscles so they literally warm up. Stretches are a good way to get this process started. And, start your walk slowly to allow the body to get fully into the swing.
Now, go for a thirty minute walk around the track. Less time is okay, but thirty minutes is ideal. Walk at a completely comfortable pace, one that you could easily maintain for the time you have allowed.
Note down somewhere you can find how many laps you walked in how many minutes. This establishes what you are able to do now. It is a real demonstration of your starting fitness level. Best of all, you can impress yourself when you retest. I’m sure you will be inspired by the progress you make in six short weeks.
Developing the Walking Habit
To get a good routine going, it is best to start with something you will do and keep at for at least three weeks steadily before increasing or changing. After three weeks your regular walking will become a habit.
How much to start with is a personal matter. The ideal, which may be way in the future for many, is an hour a day five or six days a week. I realize this may not be physically possible for some, but for most, this is a very attainable goal.
Starting depends in part on your current level of fitness, and how much you will realistically do. A good start for the average person would be somewhere around twenty to thirty minutes three or four days a week.
It takes three weeks to develop a habit, to make a routine out of something like walking. After three weeks either increase the amount of time you walk by ten minutes, or the number of days you walk each week by one. Keep doing this until you reach your desired amount of regular exercise.
It is okay to do walk longer, or more days a week than you are committed to as long as it is just something that you naturally want to do.
Increasing Lung Capacity
After a short time you will probably find yourself starting to feel better in general. This is a good time to intensify things a little. You do this by increasing your pace until your breath becomes a little labored. Pay attention to your breathing. Walk fast enough so that you can’t quite talk naturally because of the faster breath.
Maintain this pace for two to five minutes, on the shorter side to start. Then, reduce to your normal easy pace until your breath has recovered completely. Repeat after two to five minutes.
After six weeks or so you will be well on your way to having a long and healthy life. Be sure to find ways to make your walking fun. You could find some trails, take a friend, or maybe you would like the comfort of your own treadmill. Whatever it is, congratulations for doing what you need to do for your health!