April 1, 2019 – Spring has arrived! It’s finally time to trade in your snow boots for walking shoes. Walking is one of the easiest ways to be physically active.
Walking and moderate physical activity can help to lower blood pressure, decrease LDL cholesterol, improve blood sugar, reduce feelings of stress, improve quality of sleep and improve mood. Before lacing up your walking shoes, follow these guidelines to get started:
- Wear appropriate footwear. Shoes should be lightweight, breathable and provide ample cushioning- especially in the heel. Shoes begin to lose their cushion after about 350-500 miles of walking and are recommended to be replaced every three to six months.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. Stay dry by wearing synthetic wicking fabrics that draw sweat away from the skin. Light colored clothing reflects sunlight to keep you cool in the summer. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to help avoid over-exposure to the sun.
- Stay hydrated. Take frequent sips of water before, during and after your walk, even if you are not thirsty. This is especially important during hot summer weather.
- Start slowly, especially if it has been a while since you have exercised. Warm up your muscles by stretching the upper and lower body. Begin walking with an easy pace. The “talk test” is a good way to gauge intensity level. If a conversation with your walking buddy leaves you breathless, slow your pace or take a route with fewer hills.
- Maintain good form. Keep your head up with the shoulders back and relaxed. Be sure your heel hits the ground first, then roll your foot and push off from the toe. Maintain your normal stride length. To increase your pace, take quicker steps instead of longer ones.
A final tip – it is always a good idea to walk with a buddy or a group. If you walk alone, be sure to carry a cell phone.
There are two walking trails and a number of walking routes at Carroll Lutheran Village. Pick up a brochure in the Wellness Center for indoor and outdoor suggestions.
Sherry Stick is Fitness and Aquatics Coordinator
for Carroll Lutheran Village