By improving cardiovascular fitness, walking and other aerobic exercises can help your endurance for performing other physical tasks. Walking on a regular basis can improve your mood and diminish feelings of anxiety.
Add pizzazz to your routine walks and notice a difference--physically and mentally. No doubt, walking provides an easy and inexpensive way to get fit. Yet it can get boring if you do the same thing over and over. Challenge yourself with these tips, and it will benefit your body and mind.
Strengthen your stamina on--and off--the sidewalk by adding interval training to your routine. No gym is required for this exercise technique. When walking, all you have to do is vary your speed and intensity.
Connie Tyne, executive director of Cooper Wellness Program in Dallas, suggests warming up gradually and then doing a few minutes of fitness walking (medium strides with arms moving at a 90-degree angle) followed by power walking (smaller, quicker steps, as if you're in a big hurry). You can also jog for a short distance or until you feel tired and then return to fitness walking.
"Repeat the pattern, and make it fun," Connie says. "Keep your intensity at a level that will be challenging but not exhausting. If you're listening to music, power walk during the chorus of each song."
Don't carry hand weights or wear ankle weights while walking. "They put extra strain on joints," explains Connie. "If you have osteoporosis, you can use a weighted vest that safely distributes the weight around your body."
Walk This Way
Here are some other suggestions from Connie and the experts at the Cooper Wellness Program.
"Lovely Day" by Bill Withers
"It's Raining Men" by Weather Girls
"Soak Up The Sun" by Sheryl Crow
"Goody Two Shoes" by Adam Ant
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
"Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf
"Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz
"Respect" by Aretha Franklin
"Crossroad" album/CD by Bon Jovi
"The Barber of Seville" by Rossini
"You Wreck Me" by Tom Petty
"Harvest for the World" by the Isley Brothers
"Beautiful Day" by U2
"Get Away" by Train
"It's a Great Day To Be Alive" by Travis Tritt
"Maureen" by Fountains of Wayne
"Some Other Guy" by The Beatles
This article is from the January 2006 issue of Southern Living.