Walking is the most popular outdoor activity in the United States. There are many good reasons for this fact, chief among them is the simplicity of walking. No special gear is needed, and you can do it virtually anywhere. Now that the inevitable change of weather is near in Phoenix, and the surrounding desert communities, it is a good time for those who have considered beginning to exercise to think about walking as a simple and effective way to get started. The city of Scottsdale, especially has numerous opportunities to implement walking workouts of varying types and intensities.
If someone has been sedentary for a long period of time, or has essentially never really exercised, walking can be an excellant activity. It offers a low impact, yet effective way to burn calories, build some stamina, and keep the expenses associated with a fitness program; i.e. gym fees, or the cost of fitness wear or equipment, to a minimum. Once a foundation of improved general fitness has been established, some walkers will expand their repetoire with resistance training, swimming, or a mix of running and walking. Some others though, will keep walking as their exclusive type of exercise, although they may learn to vary the intensity of their walks, through such practices as altered distance and speed, or the introduction of some varied terrain.
For beginners, I suggest walking for time rather than distance, and maintaining a pace that will allow for a conversation to be held. At the start, expecially, it is not necessary, or wise to aim for a pace that keeps you continually out of breath. Be patient, and remember that this is about building a lifestyleof health and wellness, not about a “quick fix.” So for example, a walk may be 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back, so that there is a limit, or guideline to shoot for. Like any program of exercise, improvement is about getting competant at one level, then progressing, gradually to the next, in order to keep the body adapting.
So with a pair of good shoes, and a means of hydration; (drink before, during, and after) all that is needed is to select a location and get to it. As I mentioned earlier, Scottsdale has many options for places to have a safe, and enjoyable walk, from the greenbelt that runs along Hayden road, to some more challenging walks with some varied terrain, like the switchbacks up Wonderview road on the south side of Camelback mountain, and the trails at Papago Park. Happy Trails!
For more information see either Prevention Magazine at www.Prevention.com or Runner’s World magazine at www.runnersworld.com.