Steps to Healthy Walking

Image of two women walking in the park

Walk this way – the healthier way!

Walking is one of the easiest things we can do to keep our bodies fit.  And even though it can be considered low impact, it can also cause stress on our bones and our bodies. If you’re serious about walking, then make sure you’re serious about taking the healthy route when doing it.

According to the Mayo clinic and other health advisory sites like Medicine.net, there are a few precautions you can take to walk comfortably and safely. Whatever your age, your weight, or your condition are, these guidelines are general ones to consider (but, like all health-related events, consult your doctor for what is best for you).

  1. Always check with your doctor, especially if you’re “at risk” for certain conditions. If you have low blood sugar, heart or lung conditions, then it’s highly recommended that you ask for advice about:
    • How best to walk 
    • How long to walk
    • And what signs to watch out for to recognize any potential or existing conditions or problems.

  2. Dress correctly with the right walking gear. A good pair of comfortable shoes with a strong arch, firm heel, and flexible soul is necessary if you’re going to keep your feet in good condition.  Nothing will kill your enthusiasm for walking faster than suffering from blisters and cramps. Replace those shoes every 4 – 6 months, or as soon as you notice  they’ve lost cushioning and support, and if there’s obvious wear — pronation or worn out materials. Worn out or poor-performing shoes can result in unhealthy, painful damage.

  3. Practice proper form or technique.

    It’s recommended that you warm up first before walking, stretch your calves and thighs to wake them up and then start slowly before you reach your steady pace. Once you start walking, swing your arms to help your stride, keep your head up, your abdomen flat and toes straight.  It may take some practice to walk “correctly”, but if you’re mindful, taking the right stride and walking the right way will follow easily.

  4. Be prepared.
    • During hot months:
      • Take water or a nutritional drink along with you to stay hydrated.  
      • Wear proper sun protection like a hat or sunscreen.  
      • Walk during the morning or evening.
    • During cold months:
      • Walk closer to mid-day.
      • Wear layers of clothing to stay warm without overheating.
      • Take water or a nutritional drink like you would in hotter weather.

Mix it up or stay the same course. Walk by yourself, with a friend, or in a group. Walking is a great way to get some personal, alone time. Or, it can be perfect for the time you need with friends.  The point is to stay engaged and committed to being healthy. A little effort goes a long way to stay fit and healthy. Walk this way. Or walk your way! 

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