Walking Can Be a Great Family Workout

Special to the NNPA from The Philadelphia Tribune

Walking is one of the best ways to get an aerobic workout. It’s safe, healthy, fun, inexpensive, easy to start and a great form of aerobic exercise for the family. It’s also a great way to help your community. Walking, like other aerobic exercises, should produce a training effect. “Training effect” is the body’s ability to recover from physical stress such as exercise or work.

Unlike many other aerobic exercises walking is relatively free from the many hazards of aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises such as jogging, jumping rope or high impact aerobic can cause joint pain, stress fractures, muscle pulls and other problems. When you use a high impact exercise to get in your aerobics, you put 3 to 4 times your body weight on every joint in the body.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t use high impact exercises such as jogging, but you should be aware of the problems that can be associated with them. When you walk, the impact of each step is only 1 1/2 times your body weight. Studies have shown that you can get the same benefits by walking sixty minutes, four times a week as you can by running thirty minutes three times a week.

Remember, walking is relatively free from injuries you can still overdo it. If you begin to feel pain, stop walking for a couple of days, then slowly work your way back into your program. Start walking at your own level, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Then gradually build on the time, pace and distance.

There are a few other safety features you want take into consideration when walking outside. Walk with a friend. Avoid isolated and poorly lit areas. Always let someone know what route you’re taking and when you expect to return. Carry phone, change and identification. Do not wear headphones, they make you less aware of traffic sounds, dogs, approaching strangers and can cause problems with your equilibrium. If you can, use a route that others use when working out so you’ll be less likely to be a victim of foul play.

When walking or running you should always face on coming traffic. Facing the traffic will give the chance to see what’s coming and give you more time to react. So that you’ll be seen, wear bright clothing during the day that doesn’t match your surroundings. Day glow orange is an excellent choice. At night you want to wear white or reflective clothing. You can even carry a flashlight. Two other good tips are to always use a running or walking route that is traveled by others and let someone know you’re going out and when you’re expected back.

There will be some days when the weather will be too cold or too hot to walk. Use your better judgment and forego your outdoor workouts for an indoor track.

Remember, walking is one of the best ways to get in an aerobic workout. It’s safe, healthy, fun, inexpensive, easy to start and a great form of aerobic exercise for the family. And you can help your community. So start that walking program today. Before starting your fitness program, consult your physician.

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