Walking Is Great Exercise

Written by Beth Marlin Lichter
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Walking for exercise -- an easy new year's resolution. Are you starting off the new year with fitness resolutions that are impossible to meet? Do they require trips to the gym or an investment in home exercise equipment or adherence to a particular schedule that is easily ignored?
All you really need is a good pair of walking shoes and a bottle of water to begin an exercise program that will yield many benefits.

The exercise is called walking and it’s a great way to improve one’s health and well-being, both physically and emotionally. Whether you are out for a leisurely stroll or a power walk, simply being outdoors, especially if you can pick a pleasant route, will help relieve stress and relax the mind. Get into a rhythm. Listen to the sounds of the environment or your iPod and enjoy the feeling of moving your body forward.

Walking can help achieve a higher level of fitness and health. Blood pressure comes down, calories are burned, bones are strengthened, weight is easier to control, circulation is improved. All this begins to happen the minute you leave your home and step out into the world.

Put yourself on a two-month walking program, starting off slowly, gradually accelerating your pace and distance walked, and set a goal. Perhaps your goal is to be able to walk for half an hour at a brisk pace, 5 days a week. If you are in good physical shape already, the goal might be to walk and jog intermittently for an hour in a slightly hilly locale.

Start slowly, with the right footwear and outdoor clothing, including a fanny pack or to carry water, seasonal necessities such as sunscreen, hat and glasses. Stretching before and after is wise and you could even add on five minutes of abdominal work back at home, to increase the benefits of your new regime.

Now there are no excuses. Save the money you would spend on fitness and just walk out the door. Be prepared to sleep better, feel better, look better. After 8 weeks of walking, assess where you are and how far you’ve come and then set new goals. Being fit is addictive!

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