Walking is a terrific form of exercise. However, when first starting out, the first rule should be to not do too much too soon. My recommendation for beginning walkers is the same I give to beginning runners – think in terms of time rather than distance and build from there. In other words, let’s pretend you’re going for your first walk. Instead of determining how far you wish to walk, instead think of how long. Start with a given amount of time depending on your fitness and work up gradually from there by increasing your time walking as your progress. Start modestly and gradually build up.
There are many injuries that are both common to runners and walkers. Wearing decent walking shoes is a necessity. Sales personnel in stores that sell athletic footwear are generally fairly knowledgeable in helping to select good walking shoes. Improperly fitting shoes can cause chaffing or blistering. Shoes with inadequate arch support will cause or contribute to problems such as shin splints, low back pain or pain along the bottom of the foot called plantar fascitis. Some people may even need orthotics. These are special inserts that fit into the shoe to help correct foot problems. I can testify to this as I need to wear custom orthotics for running. You can buy generic orthotic inserts but custom orthotics are generally more effective since they are custom fitted to your feet. The downside is that they tend to be expensive, but are covered by most employer health plans.
Walking is not only a great way to lose weight, but also has been shown to reduce depression and heart disease. However, like all exercise, it has to be done regularly to be effective. Walk for thirty minutes three or four times a week and you’ll be doing wonders for your health.