Take a Hike!

Taking a hikeCan you think of an exercise that you do everyday?  How about walking?  Walking is steadily becoming one of the fastest growing exercise trends in the country.  Why?  Because anyone can do it!!  Young or old, overweight or skinny, walking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise.  Not only is it easy to get started, it’s also easy to get good at it.

    Now you may ask, “What do you mean get good at it?”  Well, there are actually techniques to walking to get the most out of it.  Lots of people walk for exercise.  However, have you ever walked with someone and it’s tantamount to a stroll?  A good way to see if you are getting some cardiovascular benefit to your walking program (this means increasing your heart rate to a point where it’s being challenged), is to take your resting heart rate (220 – your age) and then check your heart rate as you walk.  If your heart rate is up to 60-80% of your maximum heart rate, then good for you!!  A simpler test is called your Rate of Perceived Exertion test.  Basically, this test is based on how do you feel.  Can you feel your heart beating harder?  Are you getting out of breath? 

    Another factor to getting the most out of your walk is your arms.  It’s important to bend your elbows and pump your arms as you walk.  If you let your arms hang at your side not only are you a less efficient walker, your hands will go numb because your blood will have a harder time circulating out of your extremities.  A good steady stride is important also.  Don’t try to take longer than necessary strides to move quicker.  Take shorter, quicker steps and you will eventually pick up the pace of your walk!!

    You can walk anywhere.  Join a gym and hop on a treadmill.   Some local gyms even have a walking program that you can join. Walk around your neighborhood.  Find a friend or a loved one that would like to work out with you.  Remember, during the hot months of summer, remain hydrated and put sunscreen on.  As the summer months go on try to increase your mileage a little at a time, and by the end of the summer, you’ll be putting miles on your sneakers!!