The 2 Necessary Things You Must Do When Going for a Walk

Walking can be a great way to burn some calories without working yourself too hard. Plus, if you pair up with a friend, it can be an excellent way to socialize as well. However, there are a couple of important things you must do in order to get the most out of your walk and avoid any chance of injury.

Walking reduces stress

Being in nature and moving your body are two important things. | iStock.com

According to Prevention, research shows that a brisk, 20 or 30-minute walk can have the same stress-reducing power of a mild tranquilizer. Walking triggers the release of endorphins, which relieve pain and stimulate relaxation. Plus, walking in an uplifting environment, such as a walk along the lake on a sunny day, can also improve your mood. If you practice deep-breathing techniques while you walk, you can improve your mood even more and really get the most out of your exercise.

Next: Here’s another reason why walking is such a great workout. 

It’s a low-intensity workout

woman in black sport clothes walking with backpack and shoes in the hand

You can even walk somewhere fun! Like the beach. | iStock.com/RossHelen

One of the best parts of walking is that it gives you a workout without having a significant impact on your joints. Low-impact workouts are workouts where at least one foot remains in contact with the ground at all times. When you walk, both feet are never off the ground at the same time (unlike running). So, your joints will thank you for going for a walk instead of a run. However, there are still important things to remember when walking in order to get the most out of your workout.

Next: Here’s 1 thing you should always do when going for a walk. 

Proper footwear is essential

shot of runner's shoes

Make sure you have supportive, but comfortable kicks. | iStock.com/Ivanko_Brnjakovic

In order to avoid any injury, always be sure to wear the proper footwear when walking. There are a few keys to finding the best walking shoe. Purchase shoes that are lightweight yet provides enough support for your foot. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the shoes should be flexible enough to bend in your hand but still provide a thick cushion of support. The support should be thickest in the heel. If you don’t purchase the right shoes, you can put pressure on your joints even though you’re just walking. Improper shoes can lead to health problems like joint pain and back pain.

Next: This should always be done when you go for a walk, too. 

Always set a goal

2018 goals list in notebook with gift box new year on wooden table background.

Give yourself a daily walking goal to hold you accountable. | oatawa/iStock/Getty Images

Don’t set out for a walk without a goal. Whether it’s a distance goal or a time goal, it’s important to always have your sights set on how far you’ll go. This ensures that you’re getting proper exercise and also gives you a boost of motivation to complete that goal. If you take a walk aimlessly, you might only end up walking for 15 or 20 minutes. But if you tell yourself, “I need to walk 30 minutes today,” and set a route that will take you that long, you’ll be more likely to complete it and fit in that necessary amount of exercise without bailing early.

Next: Here’s how much walking you’ll need in a week. 

You should exercise 150 minutes per week

Young Asian fitness woman doing exercises in the park

Incorporating bodyweight exercises is another way to stay fit. | iStock.com/twinsterphoto

The AHA suggests 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of rigorous exercise. Since walking is low-impact, it falls into the moderate exercise category. If you don’t do any other form of workout, then you’ll need to walk for about 30 minutes per day, five days per week in order to hit the AHA’s recommended weekly amount. If you’re walking uphill or on an intense hiking trail, you might be able to walk for closer to 75 minutes each week, but the longer your walk, the better.

Next: That 30-minute walk could help save your life. 

Walking 30 minutes per day will reduce your risk of heart disease

Feet of a woman on a treadmill

The benefits of exercise are huge. | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

If you take a 30-minute walk most days, you can actually reduce your risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States. But studies show that a daily brisk walk can help reduce heart disease. In one 10-week study of middle-aged women, heart disease factors such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol lowered in just that short 10-week time frame. Keeping up with exercise for longer periods of time could have life-saving effects on the heart.

Next: Here’s how to avoid any risks while walking. 

Walking can have risks if you don’t exercise properly

Mature woman walking

Take care of yourself and listen to your body. | Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images

While walking can be an awesome workout, it’s still important to practice the proper safety measures when going for a walk. As stated, always wear reliable footwear to avoid the risk of injury. On a day that’s too hot, walking can make you sweat even though it’s low impact, which can cause dehydration. Always bring a water bottle with you when you’re walking, especially in warmer temperatures. Never walk on a rigorous hiking trail that you don’t have experience with, unless you’re walking with a guide. Certain terrain can cause injuries like a twisted ankle or joint pain if you’re not used to the area.

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