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Exercise

Fitness Walking Crawls Ahead


Is the treadmill too boring? Is the “Stairmaster” too tiring? Does the seat on the fitness bike make your butt sore? Stop whining, baby, and look toward another alternative: fitness walking.

You remember walking? It’s the thing you do in order to grab a snack out of the kitchen during the commercial of your soap or sitcom. Don’t look now, but millions of Americans agree: fitness walking is taking the country by storm as a popular solution to quieting the fitness guru that’s inside you. And the best part about it ... it’s free!

The word “free,” of course, is a relative term, because nothing is free these days. You’ll need a good pair of shoes and some proper workout clothes, but you won’t have to join a club or pay $59.99 for a jar of powdered “SkinnyNow!” to get a good workout.

“It’s easy to see why fitness walking has become so popular. When done right, it’s a terrific full body workout,” said Liz Neporent, author of Fitness Walking for Dummies and host of eyada.com’s radio show LizzyFit. “Anyone can do it, regardless of age. But, it does require some thought about clothes, equipment and accessories, especially in the summertime when the heat can be brutal.”

According to the Sports Goods Manufacturing Association, fitness walking is the most popular form of exercise in America, with more than 80 million Americans participating on a regular basis. The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America says the “baby boomers” are the leaders of the pack, because more of them realize fitness walking is relaxing, gentle on the joints and a great alternative to high-impact sports, like running.

Neporent offers the following tips for gaining the most benefits out of fitness walking:

  • Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

  • If possible, avoid exercising in the middle of the day. The sun is the strongest during this time, and the air is at its hottest. If your schedule won’t allow any flexibility, stick to a shaded route.

  • Use sweatproof, waterproof sunscreen while participating in outdoor activities.

  • Wear a light-colored hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare and ultra-violet rays.

  • Drink plenty of water before going out and carry a bottle with you. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

  • Wear light-colored clothes made of synthetic or mesh-like materials that draw sweat away from your body to keep you cooler.

  • Wear a walking shoe with an angled heel and plenty of padding that lets you stride naturally while you walk.

  • Stretch after your slow cool-down when your muscles are warm and receptive to stretching so you’re less likely to pull a muscle.

  • If you use poles, canes or any type of walking stick, make sure they have a rubber tip to prevent slippage.

Contact: Damon Jones, Proctor & Gamble, 1 Proctor & Gamble Plaza, Cincinnati, OH 45202; (513) 945-8432;
www.pg.com.


© 2001 Health Resources Publishing