Walking can help you lose weight and get fit — if you do it right. Here’s how to reap the rewards from your outings.

Love a daily walk? Science says you’re doing yourself a huge favor. Research from Harvard Medical School suggests that if you’re over 50, walk 4,000 to 7,500 steps a day It is a great boost to not only build longevity but also a great way to improve your overall health.

Another study recently found that walking can relieve knee pain caused by osteoarthritis in people over the age of 50. Also good news: Walking may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Think of walking as a one-stop-shop when it comes to optimal fitness. According to the Mayo ClinicWalking can help you lose weight, improve your heart health, strengthen your bones and muscles, boost your immune system, improve your mood and energy, and improve your balance and coordination.

So how can you get the most out of your daily walk? Learn some simple, innovative strategies, make it a habit, and watch your fitness level soar.

Plus: Avoid these seven exercises if you’re over 50

What type of walking shoe is right for you?

We asked three top experts to explain every wise move you should take regarding how to walk, the right equipment, and how much walking you need to do to feel great, inside and out.

Not that cute sneaker you found at the thrift store. miss them! Don’t wear used sneakers (basically, you’re having someone else’s foot problems once you do).

Instead, you want to start your walking regimen with a brand new pair of comfortable kicks. “In general, the right kind of shoe feels good from the start,” says Grace Torres-Hodges, MD, a board-certified podiatrist in Pensacola, Fla., and spokeswoman for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

The time of day when you shop for walking shoes matters. “It’s always best to try on any shoe later in the day; our feet tend to be more swollen afterward, sometimes as close to a half to a [full] Shoe size up,” says Torres Hodges. “And try wearing shoes with the same type of socks you intend to wear them with.”

Choosing the right shoe also depends on the terrain you’re walking on. For example, wear traditional running shoes to walk on concrete or hardwood floors.

“The design of a running shoe has the right basic architecture for repeated heel strikes and a sole designed to absorb shock,” explains Torres-Hodge.

“Plus, they’re breathable. If you’re walking the trails, consider trail running shoes.” Additionally, you can check if the pair of shoes you’re considering meets the American Podiatric Medical Association’s standards.

If your shoes hurt as soon as you walk in them, then they are not right for you. “Don’t walk in pain,” says Torres Hodges. “Pay attention to any corns or calluses that you injure, as this is your skin’s way of protecting itself from excessive pressure.”

Also, check your shoes regularly. Look for signs of wear — as soon as the sole shows an uneven tread pattern, start looking for a new pair of shoes. It’s a good idea to have at least two pairs of shoes to rotate each day, such as rotating your own. [car] Tires.”

And remember, you should be able to wear a pair of walking shoes for about six months; After that, it’s time to buy back.

See also: Are you fit for your age or weak? Here’s how to find out.

What is the right way to walk?

It all starts with good posture. “You want to stand tall,” says Cindy Sullivan, owner of Cindy Sullivan Fitness in Boston, which trains seniors.

“Imagine a string pulling you by the crown of your head. Imagine that and do it, and you will get the correct form. Don’t hunch over. Your shoulders should be back and down. Then, as you begin to walk, keep that upright position.”

“It’s important not to lean forward or backward while walking,” Sullivan adds. “Be sure to keep your gaze straight ahead—don’t look down at your feet; I’m looking forward to that.”

How do you know you’re going the right way? He says, “Watch your gait.” Darren Padua, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“You want to pay attention to the movement of the hips, knees, and ankles. Posture is also important. For example, some people walk as if they’re leaning back when their feet are just touching the ground. If you realize you’re doing this, begin to gradually move your torso forward.”

“Try to keep your torso centered over your hips. Also, do a small side-to-side motion only. Your hips should move forward and backward rather than swinging outward.”

Related: How to perform strength training safely after the age of 50

But what about moving your arms? Does this help you walk more efficiently? “Your walking speed should determine your arm swing,” Padova continues.

“The arm swing can give you more momentum if you’re walking at a higher speed, such as up an incline or hill.” It is important to swing your arms in a smooth motion. Thus, “aim for smooth, generally controlled movements”.

Foot movement is also crucial. “Pay attention to the toe movement of your foot,” says Torres Hodges. “Hit with your heels and push with your toes.”

“There should be fluidity in your movement. You can also use a cane or walk, but not a cane—you want to keep your posture upright rather than bending your body forward.”

You may like: Can you run after 50? These coaches, runners, and physical therapists say you can and should. Here’s how to do it safely.

How much should you walk to stay healthy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise per week. “But you can break that down,” Sullivan says. “Walk for 10 minutes at a time if that works for you.”

If this is your first time walking for fitness, see your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to start with, then aim for 10-minute increments so that they become 30 minutes a week at first. Don’t try to do too much too soon.

Related: Stress Stop: You don’t need to walk 10,000 steps to be healthy

Bring a bottle of water with you. Keep yourself hydrated and hydrated by drinking before, during and after your walk, before you feel thirsty.

Once you’ve built endurance, consider adding variety to your walking routine. Try walking in different locations, such as a park you enjoy or a nearby beach. You can also walk on a treadmill, on an indoor track, or in a mall.

paying off: Men over 50: Clean up your act with these style and grooming tips

A change of scenery will make your daily walk more interesting – another smart strategy. The more you enjoy yourself, the more motivated you will be to keep walking for years to come.

Lisa Mulcahy is a global health writer and her credits include Oprah Daily, Good Housekeeping, Prevention, Elle, Cosmopolitan, WebMD, Glamour, Men’s Health, Marie Claire, Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Day, Health, Family Circle, Psych, Book Red, Parade Seventeen. She is the author of eight best-selling books, including the #1 Amazon hit, Theatre’s Basics.

This article has been reprinted with permission from NextAvenue.org© 2023 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. all rights are save.

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