Want a strong brain? Exercise!
Regular exercise strengthens and tones your brain just as it does your body.
Barefoot running shoes: Better than traditional running shoes?
Barefoot running shoes are designed to protect your feet while mimicking the mechanics of barefoot running.
Walking for fitness: Warm up, cool down
Get the most benefit from walking by following the four components of a good walking program: 1. Warm up for five minutes. Walk slowly, then increase your pace until you feel warm. 2. Stretch for five minutes. Stretch gently and slowly. Stretch only until you feel a slight tension in the muscle. 3. Walk for at least 30 minutes. 4. Cool down for five minutes. End each walking session by walking slowly, then repeating your stretches. Cooling down gradually reduces stress on your heart and muscles.
Walking for fitness: Staying motivated
Starting a walking program is easy. Sticking with it is trickier. To stay motivated, try these tips: 1. Set goals, such as walking every day or walking for a set amount of time. 2. Make walking enjoyable. Find someone to walk with you or simply soak in the scenery. 3. Vary your routine. If you walk the same route every day, boredom may set in. Instead, mix it up with several different routes. Just remember to be safe: Tell a family member which route you're taking.
Walking for fitness: Overcoming setbacks
Don't give up if your walking program goes off track. Get back in the game with these four tips: 1. Stop beating yourself up. Shrug it off as a temporary setback, even if it happens more than once. 2. Re-evaluate your goals. Make sure your goals are neither too hard nor too easy. 3. Get going. Just do some form of exercise today, even if it's only for 5 minutes. 4. Keep planning. Figure out ways to fit in a walk even if you're going on a trip, working overtime or juggling family duties.
Want to get more active? Try an activity tracker
Want to get more active and fit? Use an activity tracker. You can buy activity trackers online and at most fitness and sporting goods stores. Once you have your activity tracker, set a goal, such as increasing your number of steps a day to reach a goal of 10,000 steps a day. The simple process of recording your steps and tracking your progress may help you increase your physical activity.
Buying athletic shoes? Check your arch
Athletic shoes should be tailored to your arch type (high arch, neutral arch, low arch). Your arches play an important role in how you adapt to various surfaces as you walk. But there is no one "best shoe" for a particular foot type, and comfort and proper fit should be the main criteria you use.
Walking with ankle weights? Stop!
A well-rounded fitness program includes both aerobic exercise and strength training. But skip the ankle weights. Ankle weights may strain your ankle joint and leg muscles, which could increase your risk of injury. To get more out of your walking routine, simply pick up the pace. If you're in good shape, add short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you're less fit, alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking.
How much exercise do you need?
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking or swimming. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running or aerobic dancing. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. The guidelines also recommend that you do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least twice a week.
Exercise: Are you working hard enough?
You're aiming for moderate intensity when you exercise, but how do you know if you're achieving it? You're probably exercising at moderate intensity if you're breathing faster and you break into a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity. If you're not sure, try the talk test: If you can carry on a conversation but you can't sing, you're probably exercising in the moderate-intensity range.
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