Before you start your walking program, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends following a few basic principles that will help keep you safe and comfortable:
- If you have a health condition or have not done any regular physical activity for a long time (men over 40, women over 50), talk with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
- Choose comfortable, supportive shoes, such as running, walking, or cross training shoes, or light hiking boots.
- If you're going for a longer walk, warm up with stretching exercises and include a cool-down period to reduce stress on your heart and muscles.
Maintain a brisk pace. You should work hard to keep up your pace but still be able to talk while walking.
- Practice correct posture head upright, arms bent at the elbow and swinging as you stride.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after walking to cool working muscles and keep your body hydrated.