one of the easiest ways to be physically active. You can do it almost
anywhere and at any time. Walking is also inexpensive. All you need is a
pair of shoes with sturdy heel support. Walking will:
- Give you more
- Make you feel
- Help you to
- Help you sleep
- Tone your
- Help control your
- Increase the number
of calories your body uses.
these reasons, people have started walking programs. If you would like to
start your own program, read and follow the information provided in this
Is it okay for me to walk?
the following questions before you begin a walking program.
your health care provider ever told you that you have heart
you are physically active, do you have pains in your chest or on your
left side (neck, shoulder, or arm)?
you often feel faint or have dizzy spells?
you feel extremely breathless after you have been physically
your health care provider told you that you have high blood
your health care provider told you that you have bone or joint problems,
like arthritis, that could get worse if you are physically
you over 50 years old and not used to a lot of physical activity?
you have a health problem or physical reason not mentioned here that
might keep you from starting a walking program?
answered yes to any of these questions, please check with your health care
provider before starting a walking program or other form of physical
How do I start a walking program?
Leave time in your busy schedule to follow a walking program that
will work for you. In planning your walking program, keep the following
points in mind:
- Choose a safe place to walk. Find a partner or group of people to
walk with you. Your walking partner(s) should be able to walk with you
on the same schedule and at the same speed.
shoes with thick flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb
clothes that will keep you dry and comfortable. Look for synthetic
fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin.
extra warmth in winter, wear a knit cap. To stay cool in summer, wear a
baseball cap or visor.
light stretching before and after you walk.
of your walk in three parts. Walk slowly for 5 minutes. Increase your
speed for the next 5 minutes. Finally, to cool down, walk slowly again
for 5 minutes.
to walk at least three times per week. Add 2 to 3 minutes per week to
the fast walk. If you walk less than three times per week, increase the
fast walk more slowly.
avoid stiff or sore muscles or joints, start gradually. Over several
weeks, begin walking faster, going further, and walking for longer
periods of time.
more you walk, the better you will feel. You also will use more
walking program and examples of easy stretches are shown on the
safety in mind when you plan your route and the time of your
in the daytime or at night in well-lighted areas.
in a group at all times.
- Notify your local police station of your groupís walking time and
not wear jewelry.
not wear headphones.
aware of your surroundings.
How do I warm up?
Before you start to walk, do the stretches shown here. Remember not
to bounce when you stretch. Perform slow movements and stretch only as far
as you feel comfortable.
one arm over your head and to the side. Keep your hips steady and your
shoulders straight to the side. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the
your back against a wall. Keep your head, hips, and feet in a straight
line. Pull one knee to your chest, hold for 10 seconds, then repeat with
the other leg.
your hands on a wall with your feet about 3-4 feet away from the wall.
Bend one knee and point it toward the wall. Keep your back leg straight
with your foot flat and your toes pointed straight ahead. Hold for 10
seconds and repeat with the other leg.
your right foot to your buttocks with your right hand. Keep your knee
pointing straight to the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with your
left foot and hand.
Taking the first step
Walking right is very important.
with your chin up and your shoulders held slightly back.
so that the heel of your foot touches the ground first. Roll your weight
with your toes pointed forward.
your arms as you walk.
you walk less than three times per week, increase the fast walk time more
of A sample walking program chart
||Weight-control Information Network
Bethesda, MD 20892-3665
FAX: (202) 828-1028
Weight-control Information Network (WIN) is a national service of the
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the
National Institutes of Health, which is the Federal Governmentís lead
agency responsible for biomedical research on nutrition and obesity.
Authorized by Congress (Public Law 103-43), WIN provides the general
public, health professionals, the media, and Congress with up-to-date,
science-based health information on weight control, obesity, physical
activity, and related nutritional disorders.
||NIH Publication No. 01-4155|