Everyone has to start their fitness journey somewhere. There’s a chance that you can jump right into long distance running, but if you’re like most people you’re going to need to work up to it. This means that most people just go for a walk. For some, a good walk is the start and finish to their fitness goals, and that’s fine. Just 3 30 minute walks per week have been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease and relieve chronic stress and tension. Going for a walk is good for you, and it will be no matter where or how you do it. However, if you want to take things to the next level and get a little bit more out of your walk than most, here’s what you can do.
Stretch Before You Go
If you don’t regularly stretch than flexibility is going to be an issue. If you try to walk with tight muscles it can be harder and more painful than it needs to be. The point of a walk is never to hurt; the idea of “no pain, no gain” has caused more people to injure themselves overworking than anything else. Even if you feel like you should be able to do more, always listen to your body when you’re starting out. Stretching, especially your legs, hips, and back, will let you walk for longer without pain and is essential for a good walk.
Find Your Stride
When you start walking, try to find your perfect pace. This is the speed at which you should always be walking; the speed where you do the best. Typically this is something that’s brisk for you, but not so fast that you wouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation on the phone or with a friend if they were walking beside you. This will get your heart rate up, but won’t stress you too much. This is also a pace that you should maintain, or try to, for your whole walk.
Different people like different things when they’re exercising. For some people, nothing is as motivating as a pounding base line. Others find that they want to be somewhere else when they’re exercising, so they feed their mind with podcasts and news shows while they work out. Still others favor audio books because their chapter format makes it easy to push yourself to do just three more laps; by then you’ll be at the end of a chapter, after all. Whatever it is, most people respond better to getting inside their heads and listening to something than they do just hearing the noises of the gym or the sidewalk.
Relax Your Mind
That’s right. You don’t want to overburden yourself with stress while you’re stressing your body. The point of the music, show, or whatever you listen to is to help distract you from your body. You should also be distracted from your worries or pain. There’s nothing so important that you have to think about it even when you’re on your twenty minute walk; coming back to a problem refreshed can really help.
Focus on Deep Breathing
For maximum health, work on clearing out those lungs. Long, deep breaths will help increase your overall lung capacity and make sure you’re getting enough air in your day to day life.