Walking Your Way Back to Fitness

January 23, 2008

A regular program of exercise is critical to back health and fitness. Strong, flexible muscles support your spine and allow movement. Weak, flabby muscles are susceptible to strains, sprains and stress. To strengthen your back muscles and prevent strains and injuries, develop an exercise program for fitness and strength. A primary element of your program should be some form of aerobic exercise. For many people, walking is the way to go.

What You Should Know About Walking

If you’re looking for an aerobic activity that requires no training, no fancy health club memberships and a minimum of equipment, walk right this way. Walking, like other aerobic activities, will help your overall fitness, improve your cardiovascular system and make you feel better to boot! Because it’s low-impact exercise it’s especially good for people with knee or back injuries.

Pick A Pair

Your most important decision is your choice of walking shoes. With dozens of different brands and styles available, the selection can be overwhelming. Although your final choice will be based on individual factors such as price, fit and style, there are a few basics you should look for in a shoe; flexible soles, good arch supports, room in the toe box and “breathable” fabrics. Make sure you get a comfortable shoe; don’t expect to break it in. If necessary, find a manufacturer who offers extra wide or narrow width.

Step Right This Way

Once you’ve decided to walk, consider your schedule and route. Plan to walk at least 15 to 20 minutes three to five times a week. Walk at a brisk pace – three to four miles per hour (about a miles in 15 to 20 minutes).

Remember to warm up before you start to walk. Gentle stretching exercises will help you reduce your risk of injury.

If you are walking at night, choose light-colored or reflective clothing to improve visibility. Wear layers that can be added or removed as your body temperature changes. Avoid dark streets or unpopulated area.

Join The Crowd

Millions of people have made walking a part of their overall fitness program. Why not join them? You’ll feel great and you’ll help maintain your back health for life.

This information is not intended as a substitute for proper health care. If you are being treated for a back problem, exercise under the direction of your health care provider.

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