So far, you have learned about fitness programs that require you to go to a gym, take a class, or buy a CD in order to benefit from the program. But walking and running are different in that you can participate in these programs in various locations and times. For many, walking a mile or more a day can help increase blood circulation, flexibility, and energy.
Walking is the simplest form of exercise the people can do each day. Whether is it walking to work, walking around town, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, you can create a fitness program that fits your needs
by walking throughout the day. The basic equipment you should invest in when beginning a fitness walking program includes a watch, a step counter, and a good pair of walking shoes. Because walking is considered a low impact, many people think they do not need to wear quality shoes, but if you plan on walking every day, you should find a pair of walking shoes with padded inserts and rubberized soles.
When walking for fitness, you should:
• Walk at a brisk pace for 20-30 minutes
• Plan your route before you start walking
• Wear lighter clothing or layers/ wear reflectors if walking in the
• Walk with a partner if you want the company
• Stretch before beginning your walk
• Walk-in warm or cool weather, avoid extreme heat or cold
Walking is a great way to reduce stress and see interesting things around your neighborhood.
Running is considered a high impact exercise because you will be increasing oxygen intake and blood flow faster than you would by walking, and your muscles will be working harder. Running is a good way to tone your body, increase your heart rate and endurance. You should invest in quality footwear that will absorb most of the shock that comes from your feet hitting the pavement or the ground. This will help prevent injuries like sprained ankles, knee and joint pain, and lower back pain.
When running, you should:
• Only run for a maximum of 30-40 minutes
• Wear light or layered clothing and wear reflectors when running at
• Bring water with you in order to stay hydrated
• Stretch before and after running
• Do not run if you have injured yourself
• Do not run in extreme heat or cold
Running is a fitness program that can be short-lived. Injuries to the knees are common, which could force a person to find a low impact exercise. Bear in mind that if you run too often, you increase the risk of torn ligaments and pulled muscles.
PROS AND CONS OF WALKING/RUNNING
If you are looking for an exercise that you can do at any time in most locations, walking or running are the types of exercises you should consider. While there are pros and cons to each, these activities are cost-effective and can be used to promote better overall health.
– Pros –
• Little equipment needed
• Can be done almost anywhere
• Most people can participate
• Reduces stress
• The option of walking alone or with a partner
• Unsafe to walk in extremely cold or hot weather
• People with health issues should consult a doctor
As with any fitness program, see your doctor if you become injured as you
may need to switch to another activity or vary your participation.
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