How to Walk: Dos and Don’ts, Plus Tips
Don’t dress for a jog. Running sneakers tend to be stiff, and that can make the rolling action of walking difficult. Instead, opt for flexible, lightweight walking sneakers that you can twist with your hands, says Michele Stanten, a certified group fitness instructor and the author of Walk Off Weight ($20, amazon.com). The right fit will depend on your arches and the terrain. As for clothing, bundle up in cold weather, but not too tightly, says John Castellani, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. You should be able to move comfortably, so start with a base layer of silk or a synthetic fabric with moisture-wicking technology (like Dri-Fit), then add a fleece or wool midlayer and a moisture-proof outer layer, both of which can be easily shed. In warm weather, don thin, light-colored clothing and a hat to protect your scalp from the sun.
Don’t carry weights. They are not helpful and may even be harmful. Two- to five-pound dumbbells “don’t create enough resistance to develop meaningful changes in strength,” says Olson. Yet they’re heavy enough to increase the risk of shoulder injury.
Don’t go too slow. Recent research published in the science journal PLOS One showed that the brisker the pace, the better. A study tracked almost 39,000 recreational walkers over 9.4 years and concluded that for every minute that participants shaved off a mile-long walk, their risk of premature death decreased by 1.8 percent.