Getting Started / 101

Get Ready for Your First Time

Find a pair of good Walking shoes. What many people first starting out don’t realize is that there is actually a difference between Running and Walking shoes.

Walking shoes are designed with the specific body mechanics and strike path. The construction is more flexible through the ball of the foot, which allows a greater range of motion through the roll of the forefoot. Walking shoes also have greater arch support to protect where the force is heaviest on the foot. In comparison, Running shoes have more cushioning in the heel–the point of impact–and less protection through the ball of the foot. The amount of heat created while running is greater, because of this, Running shoes are also made with a higher amount of mesh to keep feet cool during exercise.

Preparation

Walking is a basic movement we use every day, but it can require discipline to walk enough to gain health benefits. It's recommended that individuals take at least 10,000 steps each day for exercise, which can be easily measured by a pedometer. Walking also has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise. Here are some tips on how to start your walking regimen.

Find a safe place to walk. Generally, you should look for flat terrain, smooth surface and minimal traffic. The convenient choice would be your neighborhood, but if there are too many hills, curvy or not what you're looking for, you might want to consider other areas like your local park, walking paths, shopping malls (leave your credit cards in the car), or local gym if you like to be inside.

Proper Footwear

Ensure you are wearing appropriate footwear as walking puts a bit of pressure on your feet which can cause pain. Make sure you have proper cushioned shoes and if you are unsure which shoes to wear, visit your local running store to get properly fit.

Make a Playlist

It may help to have music playing as you walk, especially if you are easily bored during activities. Listen to music that is upbeat and keep your motivation up throughout the walk. Music can also put you in a relaxed state. If you walk outdoors make sure you have the volume low enough to hear traffic or walk with only one headphone.

Set Goals

If you haven’t exercised for a long period of time, you will want to start out slow and aim for shorter distances or time. Write your goals down in a notebook and then log your walks so that you can keep yourself on track and celebrate small successes.

Begin with 5-10 minutes around the block and then back home.

Varying your routes and walking times (i.e before work, during lunch, after work) will add variety to your walking.

Hydrate before you begin walking. Make sure you have consumed at least 8-16 ounces of water one hour before you start your walk. Increase your water intake if you plan to walk for a longer time or it’s hotter outside. You don't want to become dehydrated while you are exercising.

You may find it convenient to carry a water bottle with you, so you can stay hydrated or walk in areas you know have water fountains.

Tips

• Walking does not require any special skills, talents, gear and something almost anyone can do.

• First obstacle of walking is just getting out there and doing it.

• If weather permits, you can always go outdoors to do your walking. Look for a local track or park that offers no traffic or distractions.

• Treadmills offer a great alternative for those that like to power walk at odd hours or in the privacy of your own home.

• Bring along an iPod/MP3 player or a friend to stay entertained.

• If you are trying to lose weight, keep the amount of walking you do consistent. Walking 3-4 times a week for 20 to 30 minutes is the recommendation.

Beginners Checklist

• sunblock
• polarized sunglasses
• hat
• good pair of walking shoes
• plenty of drinking water
• energy snacks such as fruit and energy bars