Although the edHEALTH Walking Challenge has ended, it’s an ideal time of year to keep your steps up. Walking is low-cost, healthy, and a mood booster. Your activity tracker can inspire you to continue to make progress. Whether you walk for enjoyment, to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, or lose weight, here are five steps to keep you fit and motivated:
- Invest in good sneakers – sneakers are the only equipment needed for walking. Be sure your athletic shoes fit properly to avoid blisters and calluses. Look for shoes with a good arch and elevated heel that supports your heel and prevents wobbling.
- Vary your route – keep your walk interesting by mixing up your where you walk. Include hills in the course to increase your fitness level.
- Bring along a buddy – walking with a friend can make exercise fun and provide social interaction during these difficult times. Be sure to follow social distancing protocols. Or, get motivated by some music. We know one Olin College of Engineering employee who was inspired by The Brady Bunch’s “Sunshine Day.”
- Prepare for the weather – protect your skin by applying sunscreen before you go outdoors. A wide-brimmed hat is also a smart idea. For hot days, bring along water to stay hydrated. Similarly, for cool or rainy days, dress appropriately to avoid getting chilled.
- Practice good form – monitor your heart rate to be sure you are challenging yourself by elevating your heart rate while still being sure you can carry on a conversation. Maintain a good posture by keeping your head up, back straight, and abdomen flat. Swing your arms in opposition to your moving feet to help with balance.