To start a walking program, I suggest you begin by walking 20 minutes three times a week. Then for the next few weeks, increase your walking time to 30 minutes a day. Add an extra session or two to your weekly walking program as you feel fitter. Ideally you should try to work up to five sessions a week of at least 30 to 45 minutes. As your fitness levels improve take the pace up ensuring that you have periods during your walking session where you walk at a rate where you begin to feel out of breath.
To get the best out of your walking program you should watch your posture while you walk. Always keep your head level, looking straight ahead. Bend your elbows to about a 90 degree angle and keep them close by your sides. Swing your arms back and forth as you move to increase your workout level. Always wear comfortable well made supportive athletic shoes. To protect your joints always let your heel strike the ground first, then roll from the heel to the ball of your foot and push-off with the ball of your foot for more momentum. Walk as briskly as you can breathing deeply but naturally as you go.
A great way to motivate you with your walking is to use a pedometer. Clip one to your waistband when you get up and it will count all the steps you walk during the day. Health guidelines suggest that we should all do at least 10,000 steps a day. I think you may be surprised at just how few daily steps you do, even when you think you have been active. But wearing a pedometer is a great way to get motivated and you will soon find yourself leaving the car behind and walking that five minutes to the store for a pint of milk.
Walking not only makes you feel better but studies have highlighted its benefits. For example a diabetes prevention program for overweight people showed that walking 150 minutes a week can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by nearly 60 percent. In addition studies of 60 to 70 year olds, who were put on a 45 minutes walking program several times a week, found that they all lost weight and the good news was, it was primarily from the abdominal area. This is great if a simple exercise program such as walking can melt off that abdominal fat which is linked to higher instances of heart disease and diabetes.
So enlist some friends or relatives and get walking, it's a great cheap way to get fit and get fresh air.