Walking For Fitness

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Being a Smart Walker

Walking is a lot of fun and a great source of exercise and physical fitness. However, get the most out of your walking, here are some tips to help you become a smart walker and, therefore, getting the most out of your walks.

Don't forget to warm up

Nothing feels better than getting out for a nice walk and soaking up the sunshine and warm weather you've waited for all winter long. However, before you strap on your walking shoes and start out, it's very important that you do some warm ups. Believe me; you can have some very serious consequences if you don't! Sore feet, blisters, bunions are just a few of the discomforts that a good warm up can eliminate. Whether you're a seasoned walker or are just beginning, you still need to give you body a chance to warm up.

There are some very simple exercises you can do that will target the muscles what are used the most in walking. Lucky for you, they can all be done standing up and they're quite comfortable.

Two of the exercises involve standing on one foot. In the first one, you lift the other foot off the floor and flex your ankle very slowly, doing circles with your toes. Make sure you use the full range of motion and only move your ankle joint, not the leg. Do this exercise 6 times on each leg.

In the other exercise, swing your other leg from the hip. Swing it very loosely front to back in a relaxed motion, making sure your foot is not higher than 12 inches from the floor. Do this 15 to 20 times with each leg.

Cooling Down is Equally Important

As important as it is to warm up before walking, it's equally important to be sure to properly cool down afterwards. I know you're tired and stimulated from your walk but you'll be glad you took the time to cool down and your body will thank you.

Stand very still with both feet together and bend your knees slightly. Letting your arms and head hang down loosely towards the floor, lean forward from the waist. You'll be almost in the position as if you were going to touch your toes but you're not. While you're in that down position, allow your body to stretch and exhale, then stand up very slowly.

With your right hand, grab onto your right toes and pull your foot up and behind you, making sure to keep your right knee facing the ground. Pull your heel towards your buttocks until you feel a slight stretch in your front thigh, shin and hip. While you're doing this, take deep breaths and hold them. Do this on both legs.