If your biometric numbers did not show the results you were hoping for this year and your doctor has advised some moderate exercise, consider taking up walking. Following a walking program for beginners can be one of the easiest ways to form a habit of exercise. Here are a few things to consider if you want to begin a walking routine.
→ Start Slow
You don’t need to walk five miles the first time you step out the door. In fact, you don’t even need to walk one mile! Find success in getting out the door and onto the street, and then simply take it slow. The first few days could be 10 minutes of walking at a pace comfortable for you. Add 5 extra minutes when you feel you are handling the present amount well. Continue to gradually add time and speed as your body becomes acclimated to the activity. Your goal is to always slightly raise the heart rate without gasping for breath.
→ Consider Posture
A simple tip to maximize your walking routine is to keep good posture during your exercise. Elongate your body. Put your shoulders back and your head facing forward with eyes up, not slouched and staring at the ground. This will help your breathing, as well as provide a gentle stretch to your muscles while walking.
→ Stay Hydrated
Don’t skip this step! Hydration is key to success in any health and wellness program. Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your walk. If you don’t want to carry a water bottle with you, consider a camel backpack (backpack that holds water and makes use of a tube-straw for easy hydration), or make sure that you hydrate well before and after.
→ Establish Routine
The more days you commit to walking, the easier it will be to establish the activity as a habit. If you only commit to two days a week, chances are your willpower will diminish in between walking sessions. However, if you commit to getting out there often–4-6 days a week–it’s more likely that you will create a new habit. Even if these times are only 10-20 minutes at first, you still will be working towards a routine that you can easily manage in the future.
→ Enlist Help
As with any challenge or change in behavior, accountability is always helpful. Ask friends, family members or coworkers to do the beginner walking program with you. You may also seek help via the internet where you can quickly find a plethora of walking programs for beginners that will give you exact times and distances to walk for each day of the week. From 4-week programs to 6-month programs, you can be sure to find a program that will best fit your needs. And, of course, pedometers are a great way to track your steps and encourage more of them!
Remember, though, the best thing any walking program for beginners can tell you is to…
Get moving and get results! Check out these other helpful tips on health and wellness on our blog.