Proper walking techniques are very important to maximize the benefits and prevent injury.
- Be sure to start with a warm up before each time you walk. Stretching your calves is vital to help prevent tendonitis. Place the ball of your foot against a wall or curb with your heel touching the ground. Push knee toward wall, hold for 20 seconds. Repeat stretch three times on both feet.
- Proper footwear is so important. Be sure your whole foot is supported, arches, ankles, metatarsals etc.
- Also choose a safe path with no ice, or uneven terrain. Avoid walking with the same foot on the downhill side of a slope for the entire time. (Walking on hills is fine, but avoid slopes that promote one foot higher than the other during your walk).
- Start your walk slowly and then gradually increase the pace. Swing your arms and keep elbows bent. Advanced walkers may carry small weights (1 lb) in each hand to increase the benefits of this exercise.
- Walk with your shoulders back, chin tucked in, knees relaxed and stomach tight.
- Make sure to hydrate yourself before and after any activity -drink lots of water!
- Walk at least 3 times /week increasing time from 20 min to an hour (or more).
- Cool down for approximately 5 minutes when you are done.