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Healthy eating and exercise for life

The Wonders of Walking

If you’re new to exercise or you don’t want to spend a lot of money on expensive gym equipment, then we have the fitness answer for you – walking!  You might assume vigorous exercise requires fancy attire, expensive machines and a huge time commitment but walking eliminates all of these elements.  Plus, walking works almost all of the muscles and bones in the body, making it ideal for a total body workout.  A regular walking program can also provide numerous health benefits:

Burns Calories and Reduces Body Fat

Walking briskly for 30 minutes can burn approximately 200 calories per hour.

Reduces Cholesterol

As part of an overall healthy eating and exercise regime, walking can reduce your total cholesterol level as well as the level of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in your body.

Increases Metabolism

Walking will help build muscle, which can help your body burn calories at a quicker pace.

Reduces Stress

Whether you’re walking with a friend or by yourself, walking will stimulate the release of endorphins and help you feel better.  It will also allow you to ease the tension in your muscles and breath some fresh air.
In order to begin a walking program all you need is some loose clothing and a comfortable pair of shoes.  You can choose to walk alone or with a family member or friend.  Also, walking can be incorporated into even the busiest schedule because it can be done anywhere.  You can take a brisk walk during lunch break at work, while shopping at the mall or in your neighborhood.

In order to get the most out of your walking routine, pay attention to the following tips:

Use good posture: Be sure to keep your back straight and your head up.  Try to gaze at a point about 20 feet ahead of you. 
Keep a quick pace: You want to get your heart rate up and burn calories but slow down if you feel yourself getting out of breath.
Keep your abs pulled in: Pulling your abs in while provide additional toning and will also help you maintain good posture.
Walk heel to toe: Be sure to land on your heels with each step and then roll your foot forward to push off with your toes.  The heel to toe method will also help prevent painful shin splints.

As with any new exercise routine, it’s important to start slow and always practice precaution.  Never walk alone in the early morning or late evening, and always wear reflective clothing.  Be sure not to push yourself too hard at the beginning to avoid pulling a muscle.  Over time, you can increase your speed and the incline at which you walk.  Good luck and get walking!