Walking is a fairly simple exercise that everybody naturally knows how to do. However, if walking is an important part of your workout routine then there are some steps you can take to maximize each workout. The following advice is to make sure that you have the tools and knowledge to maximize every walk, and feel successful at the end of the day.
How to Maximize Each Walk
Invest in a good pair of walking shoes:
If you plan on regularly walking for exercise it is important to get a good pair of walking shoes to avoid foot, joint, and muscle injury. Walking shoes are different from other types of athletic shoes, as they have heels and toes that are rounded up to reduce impact on heel strike and increase energy during push-off. Any respectable athletic shoe store will have trained salespeople who will observe your posture, how you walk, and where your feet need support, in order to find a pair of shoes that fits your needs best.
Be aware of your walking posture:
Walking with bad posture is not going to do you any favors, so make sure that when you walk you are aware of the position of your body. It’s recommended by health experts that the best walking posture is one where you keep your head up, back straight, and abdomen flat. Swinging your arms is key, and your toes should be pointed forward. Don’t over-stride, which is unnatural to your walk, but rather take steps of a comfortable length. Finally, avoid being flat-footed, and instead aim to roll over your toes and heels each time.
Always stretch, warm up, and warm down:
Stretching and walking slowly for the first and last five to ten minutes is always a must. It will help you avoid pulling any muscles, regulates your heart rate, and avoids “shocking” your muscles from sudden starts and stops. Warming down is especially essential, as it stops lactic acid from building up in your muscles, which would otherwise make you sore the next day.
Use a pedometer:
Pedometers are great for tracking your progress, distance, and will also provide great motivation as you can see your improvement over time. It will help you set exact goals and know when you have reached yours.