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Starting a Walking Program

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Walking can be done anywhere, requires no special equipment (other than a supportive pair of shoes), and almost anyone can do it. Here are some things to keep in mind as you start your walking program:

  • Set your own pace: You expend approximately the same number of calories during an hour of slow walking as in half an hour of brisk walking. Start by walking for 10 to 30 minutes three times a week. Once you adjust to this level of activity, walk for the same length of time five days a week.
  • Next, gradually increase the duration of your walking to 40 minutes, then 50 minutes, and ultimately one hour or more: As you become more physically fit, you will be able to walk faster and go farther—and thus burn more calories in a given period of time. Consider walking with a friend or dog to stay motivated.
  • Vary your activities: If you enjoy walking, make it the foundation of your exercise program. However, to prevent boredom and work different muscle groups, you might want to choose other activities to substitute for walking on some days. Good choices include aerobic dance classes, bicycling, line dancing or swimming. The most important rule, however, is to engage in activities that are enjoyable to you and convenient enough to do regularly.
  • Don't forget weight-training program: Working a muscle against resistance increases muscle size and strength. Having more muscle increases your metabolism, because muscle requires more energy to maintain than fat. You don’t have to become a body builder or lift heavy weights to benefit. Working the major muscle groups—chest, arms, legs and back—with light weights, two to three times a week, is sufficient. Remember that because muscle is denser and heavier than fat, strength training may slightly reduce the number of pounds you lose. However, when you build muscle and lose fat, you’ll have a leaner physique.

The best exercise plan is one that includes activities that involve stretching, balance, aerobic exercise and strength training. These types of exercises help to maintain overall strength, lower blood pressure and strengthen bones. 


Posted in Hypertension and Stroke on April 27, 2016

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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