Regular brisk walking is one of the most simple, most effective ways to exercise. Not only does it strengthen your bones, but walking also reduces body fat, improves your mood and energy levels, and reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Plus you can do it just about anywhere—from your own neighborhood to a treadmill to the safe, car-free environment of your favorite mall.

Walking Tips

  • Always check with your physician before beginning an exercise program.
  • Even if it is cold outside, don’t overdress. If you are not sure how much to wear, dress in layers so you can take of clothing as you get hot. For mall walking be sure to dress lightly, since most malls stay around 70 degrees.
  • Stretch for five minutes before and after your walk to help avoid injury. If you have spinal osteoporosis, avoid trunk rotation and bending when stretching.
  • Wear walking or running shoes and athletic socks.
  • Start slowly to give your muscles a chance to warm up. Walk slower than your brisk pace for about five minutes, then speed up.
  • Don’t try too much too soon. If you’ve never exercised before, five or 10 minutes may be enough for the first few sessions. Gradually work up to 30 to 40 minutes per session.
  • Walk at a brisk pace. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to talk to a walking partner, but not sing.
  • Take frequent water breaks. Try to drink water about every 20 minutes. Also, drink plenty of water when you’re done.
  • Once you get started, stay motivated by making walking dates with friends. Keep a log of your progress to chart your improvement.

Walking Form

  • Swing your arms opposite to your feet.
  • Keep your arms bent at right angles or lose. Don’t over swing your arms or you may begin twisting your spine.
  • Stand straight with only a slight lean forward. Avoid bending your spine.
  • Don’t overstride, which can cause injuries, aches, and pains. Take natural steps. To go faster, just step more quickly instead of taking longer steps.
  • Land on your heel and push off using the balls of your feet.