Walking

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"Walking is man's best medicine."
-Hippocrates

Hippocrates must have been a smart guy! There's a wealth of research to prove that walking is good for you and the results are impressive: major reductions in both diabetes and heart disease, decreases in high blood pressure, increases in bone density, and more all follow regular walking exercise.

In this article, I'll cover how walking can help you, how much you need to do to gain benefits, types of walking and techniques, how to get started, and other valuable information.

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Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/17/2015

Read our 10 helpful tips on walking for exercise.

Ten Tips for Fitness Walking

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad St?ppler, MD
Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD

Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to stay physically fit. It's also a versatile form of exercisethat can be done indoors (many malls and public buildings offer walking routes) or outdoors, and you can tailor the intensity of your exercise based upon your individual abilities and goals. Whether you'd like to begin walking for exercise or if you're already established in the habit, these tips can help you get the most from your workout.

  1. Before starting a walking program, check with your doctor if you have a chronic medical condition or if you have had a recent injury. But don't assume that you aren't able to start exercise walking if you do have medical issues. Exercise walking can help control disease progression and relieve symptoms in people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and many people with arthritis or other musculoskeletal problems will experience symptom relief from a medically-supervised exercise walking routine.
  1. Invest in good shoes. Since these are the only expense and equipment you'll need, pay attention to the fit and quality of your shoes. Shoes should fit when you try them on without any areas of pinching or pressure that could cause blisters or calluses. Wear the type of socks you'll wear when walking when you purchase your shoes, and remember that you'll likely need a larger-sized shoe than you normally wear if you plan to wear thick socks. Shoes should have good arch support and a slightly elevated heel with stiff material to support the heel when walking and prevent wobbling.
  1. Always warm up by walking at a slow or normal walking pace for five minutes before picking up the tempo of your workout.