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How walking is the best exercise for you

Walking is the king when it comes to exercising. Almost everyone can walk, it is easy to do, feasible to maintain, and its benefits are proven beyond doubt! But just walking isn’t enough. You need to make it really effective. Here’s how.

brunch Updated: Dec 24, 2011 19:59 IST
Kavita Devgan

Walking is the king when it comes to exercising. Almost everyone can walk, it is easy to do, feasible to maintain, and its benefits are proven beyond doubt! But just walking isn’t enough. You need to make it really effective. Here’s how.



Every step counts

Take a spin around the office or walk down to the nearby market take the furthest parking space from your building take clients for a long walk instead of lunch schedule walking meetings instead of group sit-downs in stuffy rooms walk while you’re on your mobile.



Also, if you really can’t set aside 30 minutes of your day for a walk, take a 10-minute walk after breakfast, lunch, and dinner to reach the goal of 30 minutes per day, or take a family walk after dinner or walk your dog.



Hydrate well

Hydrate well before, during and after the walk. Have a sports drink if you sweat excessively. To determine the quantity of fluid you require, weigh yourself before and after the walk.



The difference in weight would be the quantity of fluids you may need to replace. Also avoid caffeinated beverages before your walk as they lead to loss of fluid from the body and make you thirsty.



Walking couple


Power walk

When it is done right, walking can blast away fat as fast as jogging maybe faster. Follow these pointers to power walking.



Work on your pace aim to walk at about a 4.5-mile per hour (mph) pace. Take quick heel-ball-toe steps as these are more efficient and less tiring than long strides.



Hold your head high raise your chin up and look about 10 feet ahead of you. Instead of hanging your arms loosely by your sides, bend the elbows at a 90-degree angle, close your hands in relaxed fists and swing them in an arc from your waist to your chest, keeping them close to your body. This way you’ll walk faster, burn more calories, and build upper body strength.



To strengthen your lower legs as part of your warm-up, walk on your heels for 30 seconds. Aim for four to six power walks a week of 20 to 30 minutes each. Make sure you rest your body now and then to let your body repair and build up muscle. Ideally take one day off a week.

Take a silent hike

When walking, try to be quiet, and tune into your surroundings. Be aware of the fragrance of the soil, the sensations of the breeze, the warmth of the sunshine, and draw up energy from the earth. This will enhance your sense of connection and serenity and walk your body as well as your mind.



Get a pedometer

PedometerA pedometer senses your body motion and counts your footsteps. This count is converted into distance by knowing the length of your usual stride. The simplest pedometers only count your steps and display steps and / or distance.

A visual reminder (a pedometer clipped to your belt or shoe) not only makes walking easy but also keeps you accountable to something, even if it is a machine. This is a great motivating tool. For weight loss, experts usually recommend an uninterrupted walk each day of 4,000-6,000 steps.

A total of 10,000 steps every day is considered a magic number. You can find pedometers at sports stores, buy them online or use a pedometer app on your mobile.

Experts: Nisha Varma, Reebok Master Trainer (North India), Bharat Sachdeva, Fitness Trainer

From HT Brunch, December 25

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