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8-Tips to make the most of your Walking
by Judy Heller, January 31, 2020

8-Tips to make the most of your Walking
Below is a list of tips to make your walking experience enjoyable, productive and safe.

1. Have a goal in mind
Whether you are walking to improve fitness; for stress relief; weight loss; to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer or diabetes; or because of arthritis or osteoporosis, it all adds up to improving the quality of your life.

2. Make a plan
Schedule a time to walk, plan your route; and decide how long you will walk. Stick to your plan.

3. Be safe
Walk with a buddy. Avoid paths with uneven pavements/sidewalks. Observe all traffic laws. If you walk in the dark, wear light-colored or reflective clothing, vests, arm bands and/or hats. Whenever you share the road with traffic, walk facing oncoming traffic. Consider carrying a cell phone, personal identification, and even taxi fare with you.

4. Wear proper clothing and shoes
Wear proper shoes (fit, relatively flat, and flexible). Keep an extra pair of walking shoes at work, so that lack of appropriate footwear won't be an excuse not to go for a walk! Dress in layers, and don't forget to use sunscreen (all year), sunglasses and a hat.

5. Drink water
When you exercise, you need extra water to maintain normal body temperature and cool your muscles. Drink before, during, and after your walk.

6. Learn to walk properly - Yes, there is a proper technique!
• Keep your head level and with erect upper back.

• Walk so that the heel of your foot touches the ground first, then roll your weight forward off your toes.

• Swing your arms from the shoulder as you walk; bending your arm at the elbow to 90 degrees increases the intensity of your walking.

• After warm up, start and finish with a few minutes of gentle stretching.

• Think of your walk as having three parts: start with 5 minutes of slow walking, then increase your pace (walking uphill requires more effort) for middle portion, and end with 5 minutes of slower walking. Warming up gradually increases your heart rate and improves blood flow to your muscles. Cooling down allows the heart rate and muscles to return to normal.

• Do a "Talk Test" you should be able to maintain a conversation with your buddy without getting winded. When walking alone, talk to yourself. If you can't talk, slow down a bit. If you can carry on a monolog, speed it up.

7. Motivate yourself
Using a pedometer (measures your walking distance) or stepometer (counting your steps) offers a way to track your progress. Plan a healthy reward for yourself when you reach a certain goal: a new pair of walking shoes, a CD of upbeat music for walking, a T-shirt with attitude. Use your imagination.

8. Find a buddy
Walking with a buddy is more fun and a great motivator. Perhaps there are WOW Walk Club members near you. If you own a dog, they can make a great walking buddy.
Enjoy yourself!
Adding a spring to your step, a smile on your face and a positive attitude will lead to success!


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