Walking is a great form of exercise, especially for beginners. Walking does not require money, special equipment, or a gym membership. When initiating a walking routine, start slowly then increase speed and intensity at an appropriate pace. It is also always a good idea to consult a physician before beginning any type of exercise program.
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Walking alone has many health benefits. Walking can lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol, increase high density liproprotein cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes, or help manage diabetes, manage weight, improve mood, stay strong and stay fit. For maximum health benefits, work up to 30 to 60 minutes of intense walking most days of the week.
Beginning a Walking Program
It is important to properly prepare for a walking program, just like any other exercise program. Even before the first step is taken, having proper foot wear is an important consideration. Warming up is another important step, which is often over looked. Properly warming up along with stretching can help prevent injuries. Warming up includes about five minutes of walking slowly to warm up the muscles. It is also important to stretch, but only after the warm up. Stretching before warming up can lead to injuries such as pulled muscles.
When designing a walking program, total distance can be a great way to track progress. A great tool in measuring distance is a pedometer. A pedometer is a small device, which attaches on the waist, just above the hip. A pedometer counts the number of steps taken. Public health recommendations state that for substantial health benefits, 15,000 steps per week of moderate intensity activity, and 9,750 steps per week in vigorous intensity activity are required.
The time it takes to reach 10,000 steps depends on intensity of steps taken. For moderate intensity, 100 steps per minute are taken and for vigorous intensity 130 steps per minute are taken. So, if the activity is moderate in intensity, it would take 100 minutes to reach 10,000 steps. If the activity is vigorous in intensity, it would take 77 minutes to reach 10,000 steps. To have an active lifestyle, 10,000 to 12,499 steps per day are required. To be considered as having a highly active lifestyle, 12,500 steps per day are necessary.