Walking is one of the best types of physical activities because it is accessible to almost anyone, doesn’t require specific skills or equipment, is inexpensive, can be done in a variety of settings (in your neighborhood, at the mall, around a track), and can be performed at any chosen intensity. As the weather starts to cool off, don’t let that scare you from getting outside. Just add an extra layer and enjoy the beautiful fall colors. The sugar creek trail provides a beautiful setting for fall walking.
How much walking and physical activity do I need?
The current U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week of moderate intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. This activity should be accumulated 10 minutes or more at a time.
How to get started
• Start slow and easy, walk 10 minutes to start.
• Do some gentle stretching before, during, and after your walk.
• Pay attention to your posture. Walk with your head lifted, eyes forward, and tummy pulled in.
• Focus on breathing. If you can’t talk during your walks, you are trying to do too much. Slow down and take a few deep breaths. If you can sing, you are doing too little. Pick up your pace a bit.
• Bring water and wear a hat on sunny days.
• In the cold, wear layers, a hat, and gloves. Your base layer should fit snugly to keep you warm and wick away moisture. Your outer layer should block the wind.
• Wear a comfortable pair of gym shoes.
• Slowly increase the pace, distance, and/or frequency of your walks.
• Set goals
• Track your progress by recording how long and how far you walked each time and how you felt during your walks. This could be done with paper and pen or by using a smartphone app such as MapMyWalk, Walkmeter or Fitbit.
• Add your walks into your calendar or to-do list. This helps make your walks part of your daily routine instead of an extracurricular activity.
Tips to add walking into every day
• Park father away (work, grocery store, mall entrance).
• Walk during your lunch break.
• While at work, instead of e-mailing a colleague, walk to that person’s desk.
• Whenever you are on your cell phone, stand up and walk around.
Start Walking For Exercise (HHS – 786-W), by Elizabeth A. Richards, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Purdue University School of Nursing
Monica Nagele MS/RD is the Purdue Extension Montgomery County Extension Director, Health and Human Science Educator. She can be reached at Phone: 765-364-6363 or E-mail: monicanagele@purdue.edu