Walking is a great form of exercise for individuals of all abilities and ages.  If you are going to begin a walking program, make sure to start gradually, and continue to increase your pace and length as you become accustomed to it.  The following tips can help you get regular walking incorporated into your life.

General walking tips

Make sure to start out slowly, especially if it’s been a while since you did any long distance walking.  Gradually increase your pace and length.  The following are some general tips on how to prepare and get started on your walking routine.

Warm-up activity: begin slowly, and first do some stretches and warm-up exercise. Don’t immediately walk after consuming a large meal.

Slowly build up activity – begin with a 20-minute walk before gradually increasing your distance and pace. Try walking three times a week at least.

Use the proper technique – walk steadily, freely swing your arms and stand up as straight as possible.  Your feet should be using a rolling action to step in from your heel down to your toes.

Socks and Shoes – wear comfortable thick cotton socks.  The best shoes are lightweight, comfortable and sensible ones with support. These Spira shoes are highly acclaimed.

Weather – wear suitable light, warm cloth during the winter and comfortable, cool clothing during the summer. Remember to wear a hat and sunscreen.

Water – drink water before you start walking and after you are finished.  Also, take water on your walk, especially when the weather is warm.

Cooldown – be sure to cool down after going on a fast, long walk.  Do some stretching exercises to keep your body relaxed.

Walking is a great form of exercise for individuals of all abilities and ages. These walking tips for beginners will get you well on your way to a healthier lifestyle. What would you add?

Walking tips for kids

According to statistics, children are increasingly living sedentary lives. Some tips for helping to encourage your children to enjoy walking on a regular basis include: If your child like computer games and television more than exercising, them about getting a dog.  Your child will want to care and love their pet, and that might encourage them to go on regular walks with their dog.  Keep in mind, though, that dogs are not allowed in most conservation reserves and national parks.

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Increase your child’s interests and enjoyment in outdoor activities by visiting scenic areas and planning fun activities like camping and sailing.

Encourage your child’s love of nature through websites and books, and then go on field trips to allow them to discover their favorite plants or animals on their own (while enjoying the health benefits that walking offers simultaneously).

Schedule family walks on a regular basis – it is an excellent way to help instill healthy habits in your children and have the entire family spend time together while also getting fit.  When you are walking with kids, be sure that the length of time and route spent on the walk is appropriate for their ages.  A good rule of thumb is about 1 km per year.  For example, you can expect a four-year-old to be able to walk up to around 4 km, as long as they have enough rest breaks along the way.

Begin good habits early on.  Take toddlers and young babies out for walks in their jogging strollers.  Encourage them to get out and walk at least part of the way as they get older.

Many parts have self-guided nature walks set up that you can enjoy.  Younger kids love watching for upcoming numbered posts, while older children can learn about the park’s animals and plants, and maybe take pictures or use other methods to record their experiences.

Walking tips for senior citizens

Performing weight-bearing exercise on a regular basis can help to improve bone strength and cardiovascular fitness, boost muscle power, and reduce excessive amounts of body fat.  For the elderly, walking is a great form of exercise, since it provides great health benefits, is free, and is low impact.  Here are some tips:

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Vist your doctor and have a medical check-up done before you start on any new exercise program, especially if are suffering from any chronic medical conditions, have not exercised is a very long time, or you are overweight.

Pre-exercise screening helps identify individuals who have medical conditions that might place them at higher risks for experiencing health problems while engaged in physical activities.  It is a safety net or a filter to help you determine if the potential benefits provided by exercise outweigh the risk.  Print out a copy of the pre-exercise screening tool and then talk about it with your exercise professional and doctor.

Get information on suitable reserves and parks in your local area.  Some important issues to consider include number of available park benches, terrain, and access.

Think about joining a walking club for your age group or that meets your specific needs.  Or start a walking club yourself with neighbors and friends.

Walking tips for individuals with disabilities

Individuals with disabilities can also benefit from exercising on a regular basis.  Tips include:

Before starting a new fitness program consult with your doctor and have a medical check-up performed.

Find out which reserves and parks offer special facilities and access (including wheelchair access.

An able-bodied individual can help a person with a disability enjoy their neighborhood walk more.  For example, a companion with good sight can warn a person who is visually impaired of any obstacles ahead.

Guide dogs are allowed in national parks, although domestic cats, dogs, and other pets are forbidden.

Talk to me in the comments, please:

What walking tips for beginners would you add to this list?