Are you one of those people who do not warm up for walking? Well, you really should take walking more seriously to avoid injuring yourself.
Walking can be one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy if you do it for about 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. It can also help keep your weight in check. However, many people take the wrong approach when they warm up before walking. Some believe that they are just doing their body good by walking out of the house into the crisp morning air with gradually increasing speed. Unfortunately, this type of warm-up can actually make some people hurt themselves more than help them get ready for a walk at slower paces.
By walking we mean long walks that require stretching before. In fact, you shouldn’t overstretch if you are going to take 10 steps and that’s it. You don’t need to warm up for that. Stretching too much can be worse than stretching only a little and you need to do dynamic stretches to not strain any muscles.
Should You Warm Up Before Walking?
It’s a common question, and the answer is a resounding “yes!” Your body needs to warm up before starting any strenuous physical activity.
If you’re going on a 5-mile hike or entering into an intense game of tennis, for example, it’s important that you do not just leap out the door without taking the necessary time to warm your muscles up. It can even help if you wear warm clothing outside before heading back indoors again.
This helps avoid injury and prepares your body for what’s to come!
Benefits of Walking Regularly
If you’re like most people, exercise is something you do when the mood strikes and the energy finally kicks in. This is a mistake. Studies show that there are benefits of walking regularly:
- It provides a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment
- Walking can be done anywhere
- No special equipment or training required
- Improves blood flow
- Helps with the body’s natural detoxification process
- Boosts energy, strengthens core muscles, and improves balance
- Can reduce stress and anxiety
- Improves mental sharpness and memory
- Encourages social interaction outside of work or family obligations
To reap these benefits, try structuring your schedule to allow a little time each day to walk. There are other ways to benefit from walking. If you are overweight, walking can help you lose weight. If you have been sedentary for a long time or have an existing health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, see your doctor for advice before starting a walking program.
And it doesn’t cost any money! To reap the benefits of walking regularly, use these tips:
- Find a time when you can dedicate yourself to exercising like in the morning or after work so your evening will be your free time.
- Start walking with a positive and comfortable heart rate. You can do this by finding your resting heart rate (which is your heartbeat when you are lying down, not exercising). For an average 165 pound person, that means walking at 60 beats per minute or 4 miles in 30 minutes. This is slower than a jogging pace of 6 miles per hour but you get the idea.
- Walk for 30 minutes – 5 days per week and increase to 40 minutes as tolerated. You can walk while standing, sitting, or even while laying down! But you should walk every day. If you must skip a day at first, don’t worry about it and try again the next day.
- There are many walking workouts and group walks available online. You can even find one that matches your schedule and location that fits your busy life.
- Do not be hard on yourself for the pace or length of time you are walking. Consistency is the main key to reaping the benefits of walking regularly.
- Work at setting goals for how far you want to walk each day, week, or month and celebrate each achievement with a small reward like a treat or movie night with family or friends.
- If you can’t set aside time every day, start small – block off 15 minutes several times a week to walk around the block or do some quick interval training at a local park with friends.
- If you are in the process of losing weight, check with your doctor before starting a walking program as an exercise option, as it can be a good way to burn fat, lose weight or build muscle.
7 Exercises To Warm Up For Walking
Here are some easy, moderate, and fairly strenuous exercises to do before you walk:
1) Ankle Rolls
This exercise is performed by twisting your ankles while you are sitting on the floor.
2) Leg Swings
It is an easy way to warm up your lower body and it can be done while you are sitting or standing. You just need to swing them a couple of times each. It can also help to release the tension in your spine if you do it before walking.
3) High Knees
Run in place while bringing your knees as high to your chest as possible. Try to do this exercise continuously for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before running again. Repeat three times before beginning your walk or run.
4) Side Leg Lifts
Lift one leg out at a 90-degree angle from your body, then quickly lift and lower the other leg out to the side. Continue alternating until you’ve done 20 lifts with each leg, then rest for 10 more seconds before continuing with another set of 20 lifts.
5) Quad Stretch
Depending on your level of flexibility, this exercise can be done either lying down or standing up. Just bend at the waist and pull one leg straight out to the side like you are going to kick a soccer ball. Slowly bring that leg back to the center and repeat with the other leg. Repeat for 10-12 repetitions before walking or running.
6) Arm Circles
Stand in an upright position, knees slightly bent and arms at your side. Swing both arms out to the side and back towards the center of your body. Next, swing them forward and behind you as if you are drawing a circle. Repeat this exercise 3 times each way before walking or running.
7) Walking Lunges
Stand behind a chair or bench for support. Place one foot slightly in front of the other; bend your knees as low as you can go without pain. Alternate legs before beginning your walk or run.
For the average American, people would be better off spending their time walking instead of watching television. If they don’t have a treadmill, they could go to a nearby park and walk or if they are feeling experimental, try some interval training on the treadmill with sprints. Remember to warm up for walking!
Getting fit doesn’t have to be boring – it can be fun and exciting!
If you choose to walk regularly, you will benefit greatly from your health. Not only will you recoup, buy yourself an awesome reputation for being dedicated and disciplined about the track of your figure. Your health is something that is worth all your effort!
Check the warmups below to avoid injuries:
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