It's easy and you can do it anywhere, anytime, on a treadmill at home, or outside around the neighborhood. All you need is a good pair of workout shoes. “Today” fitness expert Kathy Kaehler has some tips and gear recommendations that can help you walk your way to fitness.
Walking is a great way to get in shape because you really don't have to learn anything. You don't need any equipment except for a good pair of workout shoes. You can walk anywhere at any time. You can do it in your home on a treadmill or outside around your neighborhood or even on vacation. It will improve your cardiovascular system, reduce body fat, reduce risk of disease, and it will tone, shape and define your muscles. Not to mention that is will improve your attitude and your whole outlook on life. It will help you feel better about yourself and increase your self-esteem. Not only that, it will help you sleep better at night.
The proper technique for walking is very simple. You need to have good posture — pull your abdominal muscles in, push your shoulders back, and swing your arms comfortably in front of you. Measure a mile in your neighborhood and figure out how long it takes you to walk that mile. Using your car is a good way to map out a mile. Or go to your local high school and walk the track. Four times around equals one mile. Gradually begin to increase your speed and distance.
You can increase the intensity of your walk and provide motivation by using a weighted vest, and a pedometer. Weight control experts agree that the latest buzz words in the health and fitness industry are "energy balance." It's important to use an accurate and reliable pedometer that counts steps of all body types. It appears that the number of steps required to lose weight is 10,000-12,000 a day accompanied by a change in eating behavior. Without changes in eating habits, it takes about 18,000-20,000 steps a day. A pedometer can be a great motivator. Kathy says she's tried all kinds, but likes the NL2000 pedometer by New-Lifestyles. The cost is $79.95 for a kit which includes a security strap, a fitness and nutrition planner, a 3-month supply of fitness and nutrition logs, and a carbohydrate, fat, and calorie guide. You can get the no-frills version — minus the add-ons — for $54.95. To find out more information you can visit their Web site online at New-lifestyles.com.
You can also increase your walking program by wearing a weighted vest. The Xvest is considered to be one of the best on the market. It allows you to add weight to your core in one-pound increments. By adding weight to your body you're increasing your gravity making it more difficult to move. Kathy says when you wear the vest it really feels like a part of your body. The Xvest with 12 pounds included costs $149. You can buy additional cylindrical weights in one-pound increments for $2.50 each. To learn more go to thexvest.com.
As far as shoes are concerned, try those designed specifically for walking, or cross-trainers. If you already have shoes, you should take a good look at them to see if you might need new ones for added support and ones that are conducive to heel-ball-toe action.