So, if you are looking for a proper guide to physical fitness, what should you do first?
Without a doubt, the single most beneficial exercise is walking. You can do it anywhere. You don’t need any special equipment or a gym membership. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes, some loose fitting clothing and a zest for life. In turn walking will:
- Give you more energy.
- Make you feel better.
- Help you to relax.
- Reduce your stress levels.
- Help to control your appetite.
- Help you to lose weight.
- Help you to lower your cholesterol.
But start out slow. If you have been a couch potato for too long, you don’t want to start out and try and walk several kilometres at a time. The way to do this is to start slow and slowly increase the speed and distance of your walks. Always drink plenty of water and wear a good pair of sneakers. They should be shock absorbing for a low impact workout and in addition, it might be a good idea to get a pair of gel inserts for the sneakers to increase the shock absorbency so that your joints are less likely to become damaged.
How long should you walk? How often should you walk? These questions are up to you. Just remember that when you first start out, if you have not exercised for years, starting even a basic exercise like walking can be difficult. A single 15-minute may be enough, to start off with. So, pay attention to your body, allow yourself time to rest (it may take a few days when you start out for you to fully recover) and when you recover, start again. Keep track of your progress through a journal or training guide and watch distances you walk improve and time you walk increase over time.
After building up your strength, you should be in a position to walk for 30 minutes daily. As you progress, this daily walk will burn calories, increase the muscle mass in your legs as well as keep your bones and joints strong.
As far as when to walk, try and do it first thing in the morning. This way it ensures that you get your daily exercise in.
And if you up for a greater challenge (and if your doctor approves) the next step on the way to physical fitness is for you to start a weight training programme. Many senior citizens experience even more benefits from the muscle conditioning that a weight training programme can offer. Always start out slow and with your doctor’s approval.