From the day we are born our parents look forward to our first steps. There is a reason we don’t usually take those first steps until 9 – 10 months. During that time we are building the muscle and stamina to get the job done. It is this same simple action, walking, that should be the cornerstone in your fitness routine.
For starters it is very simple and with few exceptions, most people can do it. Again we all learn from very young how to walk. It is both a cardio workout as well as muscle building for the legs and arms if included in the action. Don’t just walk with your arms at your side; swing them naturally with the motion. For increased results add simple weights to your hands, wrists, and/or ankles. Since you don’t need any extra equipment it is very convenient to do at work during lunch, during vacation, etc.
The key is to start small and increase the amount you walk over time. Start in your neighborhood. If you are out of shape just start by walking down the block and back. Do that three times a week and every other week add an additional block to the routine. You will steadily build your stamina and endurance.
The most common piece of exercise equipment owned in America (besides spandex biker shorts – just kidding) is a treadmill. These can be purchased relatively cheap at second hand exercise equipment stores or on ebay. The great part is that you no longer have the weather as an excuse. If it is raining or snowing, just hop on the treadmill instead of head outside. They came in a variety of configurations, but if you can find it and afford it one that inclines and allows for a varied degree of difficulty during the work out is best. This will simulate the change in terrain just as if you were walking through the neighborhood, up and down hills, etc.
An added benefit it is a walk can be a good time to reconnect. Ask a friend to join you on occasion or as a regular partner. Take the dog or the kid with you, making sure that you set the pace and not them. If you have access to a portable cassette or CD player it can be a good time to listen to a fictional book or self improvement program. This way you improve your mind and body at the same time.
Once you have built up your walking skills there are other outlets for this exercise. Hiking has long been a popular activity. Start with some simple marked trails in the local park and work your way up. Also, most every weekend there is a charity event that includes a walk or running event. This will allow you to help others while you help yourself physically. That is just good for the soul.
Walking can be a simple way to start an exercise program or be a complete program in and of itself. Just get started and build on your progress. A final reminder, before starting any diet or exercise program consult with your physician to determine what is right for you. Good luck and good health.
Simon Volk has been a contributing author for websites and is an acknowledged expert in the field of health and fitness. He can be found on the internet at the website: http://www.healthfitnessarticle.com [http://www.healthfitnessarticle.com/calisthenics.htm]