Home' Bowls NSW : October 2009 Contents 54 BOWLS NSW -- OCTOBER 2009
Walking for good health is now a
popular activity for most people
per day and gradually build up to
If your goal is to lose weight, you
will need to do physical activity for
longer than 30 minutes each day.
You can achieve this by starting
with smaller bouts of activity
throughout the day and increasing
these to sessions of more than 30
minutes as your fitness improves.
Physical activity built into a daily
lifestyle plan is also one of the most
effective ways to assist with weight
loss and keep weight off once it's
lost.Some suggestions to build walking
into your daily routine include:
Try taking the stairs instead of the
lift (for at least part of the way).
Get off public transport one stop
earlier and walk to work or home.
Do housework like vacuuming.
Walk (don't drive) to the local
Walk the dog (or your neighbour's
Walk regularly if you can
Try to make walking a routine --
for example, try to walk at the same
time each day.
Remember, you use the same
amount of energy no matter what
time of day you walk, so do what is
most convenient for you.
You may find that asking someone
to walk with you will help make it a
Some people find that keeping an
'activity diary or log' also makes it
Wear a pedometer
A pedometer measures the
number of steps you take. You can
use it to measure your movement
throughout a day and compare it
to other days, or to recommended
This may motivate you to move
more. The recommended number of
steps accumulated per day to achieve
health benefits is 10,000 steps or
Set a comfortable intensity
For most people, there is little
difference in the amount of energy
used by walking a kilometre or
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running a kilometre -- it's just that
walking takes longer.
Plan to cover a set distance each
day and monitor how long it takes
you to walk this distance.
As your fitness improves, you will
be able to walk a longer distance and
use more energy.
Walking fast burns more kilojoules
per hour than walking slowly, but
this doesn't mean you have to push
yourself until you're breathless.
Instead, pace yourself so that you
can still talk. This simple rule of
thumb enables you to walk safely
within your target heart rate, which
brings about health gains.
The body tends to get used to
physical activity, so continue to
increase your intensity as you are
able and thus improve your fitness
You can increase the intensity of
your walks by:
Walking up hills.
Walking with hand weights.
Increasing your walking speed
gradually by including some quick
Increasing the distance you walk
quickly before returning to a
moderate walking pace.
Walking for longer.
Warming up and cooling down
The best way to warm up is to
walk slowly. Start off each walk at a
leisurely pace to give your muscles
time to warm up, and then pick up
Afterwards, gently stretch your leg
muscles -- particularly your calves
and front and back thighs.
Stretches should be held for about
20 seconds. If you feel any pain, ease
off the stretch.
Don't bounce or jolt, or you could
overstretch muscle tissue and cause
microscopic tears, which lead to
muscle stiffness and tenderness.
It's best to dress lightly when you
do physical activity.
Dressing too warmly can
increase sweating and build up body
temperature, which can make you
uncomfortable during a walk or
possibly cause skin irritations.
A gradual cool down will also
prevent muscular stiffness and injury.
Footwear is important
Walking is a low cost and
effective form of exercise.
However, the wrong type of shoe
or walking action can cause foot or
shin pain, blisters and injuries to soft
Make sure your shoes are
comfortable, with appropriate heel
and arch supports.
Take light, easy steps and make
sure your heel touches down before
Whenever possible, walk on grass
rather than concrete to help absorb
Make walking a pleasure
Some suggestions to help make
regular walking a pleasurable form of
physical activity include:
Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Protect yourself from the sun with
clothes, sunglasses, a hat and sun
Wear waterproof clothing to avoid
getting wet if it rains.
Drink plenty of fluids before and
after your walk. If you are taking a
long walk, take water with you.
Vary your walking routes so you
can enjoy the change in scenery.
Walk with a friend and combine
physical activity with socialising.
Join a local walking club.
If you have a medical condition or
any health concerns, check with
your doctor before you start any
type of physical activity program.
Things to remember
Aim to walk for 30 minutes a day
or more on most days of the week.
If you can't manage 30 minutes a
day, remember 'even a little is good,
but more is better.'
Movement for health and fitness
should be carried out most days of
Plan to cover a set distance each
day, regardless of the speed or time
* This article by courtesy of Better
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