Carol Casebolt

Walking is low-risk and easy to start. It can help keep you fit and reduce your risk of serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more.


Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) Nurse Practitioner Delfina Dixon said, "Walking is a safe and effective form of exercise to increase metabolism and decrease body fat. Walking helps maintain body flexibility and mobility. Walking over one mile everyday improves cardiac output and lowers blood pressure."


A regular walking program can also improve your cholesterol profile, lower blood pressure and stamina, boost bone strength and prevent weight gain.


All you need to get started are comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that brisk exercise elevates the body's temperature.


Work on your technique. Begin with short distances. Start with a stroll that feels comfortable (perhaps five to ten minutes) and gradually increase your time or distance each week by 10-20 percent by adding a few minutes or blocks.


Focus on posture. Keep your head lifted, tummy pulled in and shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms naturally. Avoid carrying hand weights since they put extra stress on your elbows and shoulders. Do not over stride. Select a comfortable, natural step length. If you want to move faster, pull your back leg through more quickly.


Breathe deeply. If you cannot talk or catch your breath while walking, slow down. At first, forget about walking speed. Just get out there and walk.


The end of your walk is an ideal time to stretch since your body is warmed up. Stretch your hamstrings and calves as well as your chest, shoulders and back. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.


Track your progress. Although experts recommend walking at least 30 minutes a day, there are no hard and fast rules. Walking 60 minutes/day and brisk intervals will help you burn more calories. Fit walking into your schedule whenever you can. That may mean three 10 minute walks over the course of a day. The best schedule is one that keeps you walking and keeps you fit.


For more information about wellness and weight loss call 606-218-2205 or visit


Source: American Heart Association