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Walking is considered one of the best forms of exercise because it's easy, safe and cheap. Brisk walking can burn as many calories as running, but is less likely than running or jogging to cause injuries. And it doesn't require any training or special equipment, except for good shoes. Walking is an aerobic and weight-bearing exercise, so it is good for your heart and helps prevent osteoporosis.

Walking is an excellent form of exercise for people of all ages and abilities. Start your walking program gradually, increasing length and pace as you get used to it. The following suggestions may help you to incorporate regular walking into your lifestyle.

General Walking Tips

If you have not walked distances for some time, you should start slowly and pace yourself. Increase the length and pace of your walk gradually. Here are some tips on how to get started and how to prepare for walking.
  • Warm-up activity - start slowly, do a few warm-up exercises and stretches first. Don't walk immediately after a big meal.
  • Build activity slowly - start with a 20 minute walk then increase gradually. Try to walk at least three times per week.
  • Use the correct technique - walk at a steady pace, swing your arms freely and stand as straight as you can. Your feet should step in a rolling action from the heel to the toe.
  • Shoes and socks- wear thick comfortable cotton socks. Sensible, comfortable and lightweight shoes with support are best.
  • Weather - wear suitable warm, light clothing in the winter and cool, comfortable clothes in the summer. Don't forget your sunscreen and hat.
  • Water - drink water before and after your walk. Take water with you on your walk, especially in warm weather.
  • Cool down - make sure you cool down after a long fast walk. Do a few stretching exercises.
Comfort and Safety Tips
  • If you have been inactive, check with your doctor before beginning any exercise.
  • If you cannot walk and talk without becoming breathless, slow down.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel pain, dizziness, nausea, or sick in any way, stop exercising. If the symptoms do not subside, consult your doctor.
  • Do proper warm up and cool down exercises.
  • Drink small amounts of water before, during and after your walk, particularly in warm weather when you are sweating heavily.
  • Walk with a friend for pleasure and safety.
  • If walking alone, tell someone your route and expected time of return.
  • Walk during the day or on well lit streets.
  • Always walk facing the traffic.
  • If you miss more then a week, resume your physical activity program at one-half to two-thirds of your normal level and build up gradually.