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.
Exercising? Take it up a notch
Want to get the most out of your workouts? Try interval training! This simply means alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. Take walking. If you're in good shape, try incorporating short bursts of jogging into your regular power walks. If you're less fit, alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. (For example, if you typically walk outdoors, walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees or city blocks.) The more vigorously you exercise the more calories you'll burn, even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
Tired of walking alone? Team up!
There's motivation in numbers. To start a walking group, just spread the word. Talk up your walking group among family, friends and neighbors. You might be surprised to find you're surrounded by people who are ready to lace up their walking shoes and hold each other accountable for regular exercise. Agree on how often to walk, when and where to meet, what to do in case of bad weather, the speed to walk, and the distance to cover. Then get moving.
Do you need to warm up before you exercise?
Warming up gradually revs up your cardiovascular system, increases blood flow to your muscles and raises your body temperature. Choose a warm-up activity that uses the same muscles you'll use during your workout. If you're going to run, walk briskly for five to 10 minutes. A warm-up may cause mild sweating, but it shouldn't leave you fatigued.
Step it up with an activity tracker
You can buy an activity monitor — available in a range of prices — and begin counting your steps. To get started, wear your activity tracker throughout the day for about a week. Add up the total number of steps and divide by seven. This is your baseline. From there, you can start setting short-term goals, such as adding 1,000 steps a day. A long-term goal may be walking 10,000 steps a day.
What's in an athletic shoe?
Understanding shoe lingo can help you sort through the many styles and brands of athletic shoes. Here are a few features that can affect fit and function. 1. Gel, foam or air midsole: These materials cushion and reduce impact when your foot strikes the ground. 2. Insole: This cushions and supports your foot and arch. 3. Upper: This holds the shoe on your foot. A mesh upper allows better ventilation than a leather or synthetic upper. 4. Toe box: This is the space for your toes. A roomy toe box helps prevent calluses.
Buying new workout shoes? Get the right fit
If you're shopping for new athletic shoes, be sure to try on both shoes and wiggle your toes. If you don't have at least a half an inch (1.3 centimeters) between your longest toe and the end of the shoe, go up a size. Be sure the shoe is wide enough too. The side-to-side fit of the shoe should be snug, not tight.
Focus on fit when shoe shopping
To find shoes that fit properly, try these tips: 1. Have your feet measured. Shoe size can change as you age. 2. Ask the salesperson to measure both feet. If one foot is larger than the other, try on a pair that fits your larger foot. 3. Shop for shoes later in the day after you've been walking for some time, when your feet are at their largest.
Choose the right walking shoes
In the market for walking shoes? To find the right fit, try these tips: 1. Wear the same socks shopping that you'll wear when walking. 2. Make sure you have at least a half-inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. 3. Be sure the shoe is wide enough. The side-to-side fit of the shoe should be snug, not tight. 4. Walk a few laps in the store. Make sure your heel fits snugly in each shoe and doesn't slip as you walk.
Time for new walking shoes?
If you walk regularly, your athletic shoes are bound to show signs of wear. And even if they still feel comfortable, they might not be providing enough support or shock absorption. Pay attention to the condition of your shoes. If the outsole is worn through, it's time for a new pair.
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