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If you’re extremely unfit or elderly, then walking may be a way for you to begin to build up some athletic ability and overall health and fitness.
So you’ve decided you’re going to walk for exercise. How hard can it be? You know how to walk, right?
Well, not so fast. Here are a few things to bear in mind if you want the best results and the fewest issues along the way.
You are obviously not going to consider walking in a pair of stiletto heels (although you would build amazing calf muscles), but have you ever thought that your tennis shoes could be a problem for walking in?
Even athletic shoes are not all created equal, and your tennis shoes may be too stiff in their soles for optimum walking performance.
If you’re going to walk, you want a shoe designed for walking or running, as they are built to support your foot in that role. The wrong kind of shoe could lead to knee, hip, and back aches and even foot issues.
Go to a professional sportswear store, and ask for assistance in choosing a good pair of walking shoes that will support your feet and body effectively.
Many people judge the ‘wear and tear’ on a pair of shoes by what they look like. A pair that looks clean and new is still ‘good’, but a dirty pair can’t possibly be. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple.
A pair of walking or running shoes is all about the soles (not just the rubber underneath, but the support system inside), and the soles only have a certain amount of mileage in them before they are worn out.
Your shoes (if you buy decent ones) should be retired after about 500km of walking, no matter how ‘new’ they still look on the outside.
If your feet are sliding around in your shoes then you have a problem, because your feet need to be supported by the shoes you wear. What you’re looking for are shoes that hold your feet in place without crushing your toes in the process.
Go shopping for your shoes in the afternoon when your feet are slightly enlarged from the day’s activity, so you get the right fit for your exercise routine.
Make sure that you get good sports socks to go with your shoes so that you don’t end up with blisters, and your feet can breathe easily within the shoes.
Walking can be a bit boring – especially if you complete the same route every day. Change it up by altering your routes through the neighbourhood, and get out on the weekends to a nature reserve or park to take in some completely different scenery.
You can also join a walking club, or do the Park Run in your city. It’s always more motivating and enjoyable when you’re exercising with like-minded people.
Listening to music or staring at your phone screen while walking are activities that are not safe.
The music blocks out your auditory perception and looking at your phone distracts your visual attention, making for a real problem if something is going on that you need to be aware of.
Try to stay focused on your surroundings and enjoy your natural environment. Stay aware of the noises around you, and if you carry electronics with you (to monitor your heart rate or track your progress) make sure they are hidden so you aren’t a target for theft.
If you’re walking for exercise you should ensure that you’re walking briskly, that your heart rate increases, and that you’re physically tired by the end of it.
A casual, slouchy walk along the pavement while day-dreaming about spending the night watching TV on the couch with some comfort food is not going to help you reach your health and fitness goals. It’s also going to lead to issues with your knees and back if you don’t have a good posture.
Walk tall, with a straight back, a long neck, and a sure stride to get the best performance from your body and teach yourself to be fit in everyday life.
Don’t slump when you get tired, continue to walk tall, and stop when you get to the point where you can’t go on.
The post appeared first on All4Women
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