Walking is a simple, accessible, and pleasurable form of exercise. A regular walking routine will help strengthen your heart health, alleviate lower back pain, and even sharpen your mind. A dose of daily walking can also help to help remove anxiety and nervousness. If you intend to begin a walking program, you must first establish the distance you can walk safely.
How Far to Walk When Starting Out
Most fitness experts agree that you can walk for a considerable distance even without specialized training. If you are well-hydrated and in good health, you can safely log 23 miles during a seven-hour walking expedition. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to first speak with your healthcare professional before you commence a regular exercise program. Doing so is especially important if you suffer from lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, or have balance issues. Your doctor will work with you to ascertain the distance you can walk when starting.
Be Aware of the Risk of Injury
If you have been sedentary, you should restrict your walk to a few minutes or approximately 90 minutes per session. You may experience soreness in your feet and legs if you go beyond this. You may also suffer delayed-onset muscle soreness (or simply DOMs) 24 hours after the walking session. DOMs result from tiny tears in your muscle while performing a physical activity like walking or running. However, with time the condition will disappear as your muscles get used to extended walks.
Beginner walkers may also notice minor issues like glutes, hips, or knees pain. It is also not uncommon to experience blisters on the feet. Despite this, you are unlikely to develop plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, or other severe walking injuries after a long walk. Serious walk injuries typically occur when you walk longer than average for several consecutive days.
Thus, to reduce your risk of injury when commencing a walking program, limit the distance you walk and be consistent with it. If you walk long distances in the initial stages, you may quit.
Ways to Increase Mileage
1. Wear the Appropriate Gear
Look for walking outfits and socks that are moisture-absorbent. Also, select properly fitting shoes that are comfortable and supportive. Doing so will help reduce your risk of blisters and shin splints while exercising. You should also bring sufficient water to keep you hydrated as you walk.
2. Avoid Areas with High Inclines
As you add distance, avoid walking in areas with high inclines. These areas will put undue strain on your muscles, which may lead to injury. Instead, it would help if you walked mostly on flat-level grounds like sidewalks.
3. Focus on Time, not distance
Fitness experts recommend measuring your walking progress in minutes instead of miles. During the initial stages, your aim should be to walk for a specified time. If you can walk for about 15 minutes per session, that is a good start.
4. The 10% Rule of Walking
As you start walking, you should aim to increase duration and distance by approximately 10% weekly. For instance, if you walk 10 miles per session this week, do not go beyond 11 miles the following week.
5. Make your Walk an Exciting Activity
It can get boring performing the same activity daily. Consider picking different routes or walking with your partner or kids to make the exercise more exciting.
Walking is undoubtedly a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The trick to achieving success is setting and gradually increasing the intensity. Remember to consult your healthcare professional before you commence a physical activity program.