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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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A safe, convenient, and affordable way to get some exercise during your workday.

Walking for Fitness

Research studies have demonstrated that regular brisk walking can...

  • improve cardiovascular fitness
  • reduce stress
  • use additional calories each day aiding fat loss
  • increase bone mineral density in the legs and spine

Stretching for Walking

Simple stretching exercise performed before and/or after a walking session can increase joint range of motion.

Some tips to remember....

  • Stretch a muscle to a point of mild tension then hold that pose 10-30 seconds.
  • Stretching should be performed at least three days a week but every day is fine too.
  • Breathe slowly and regularly.
  • Avoid bouncing stretches as injury may result.
  • Stretch all major muscle groups of the body -- it only takes a few minutes.

Off and Walking if You've Been Inactive

  • If you have chronic medical problems or have been inactive for several years, see your doctor before starting your program.
  • Begin with 10-15 minute walks with the goal to find a time of day that fits well into your schedule.
  • Gradually increase your duration and intensity over a period of several weeks.

Walk in Style

  • Head erect and back straight
  • Arms loose at sides, able to swing freely
  • Land on the heel with each stride roll foot forward
  • Take long, brisk, and easy strides
  • Lean forward slightly while walking up hills
  • Breathe deeply and regularly. If you can't talk comfortably while walking, you're going too fast.

Points to Ponder

  • Good shoes make happy walkers. Purchase a pair designed for walking or running that fit well and support your feet.
  • Excercise with a friend or a co-worker. It will decrease your likelihood of skipping exercise, and it can be really fun.
  • Don't compete -- always work at your own pace.
  • Chose safe routes, especially if walking at night.
  • Check your heart rate regularly, especially at first.

Find Your Target Heart Rate

Exercising in your Target Heart Rate Range maximizes health and fitness benefits. To find your target heart rate:

  1. subtract your age from 220 to determine your maximal heart rate (HRmax)
  2. multiply your HRmax by 60% (.60) to find your Low Target
  3. multiply your HRmax by 80% (.80) to find your High Target

Train Don't Strain

Walking at the appropriate intensity for 20-30 minutes, 3-5 days a week is a great way to get and stay fit Some people think that more is better. Over-exercising can be counterproductive and lead to:

  • Joint and muscle overuse injuries
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of enjoyment in your program
  • Increased stress