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  Walking to Get in Shape  
If you're like a large portion of the population, winter has been far too long as far as being indoors and idle. Yes, I know there are many activities you can do in the winter and you can also exercise indoors. However, I'm not a winter person myself and while I try to exercise regularly, my plans don't always come to fruition. Now that summer's here; however, it's time to put on our walking shoes, get outdoors and get some good old fashioned walking in!

Start Slow

If you really have been idler than you care to admit, there are some steps you may want to take before you start out walking to avoid any possible soreness and discomfort. Even though we hate admitting how out of shape we really are, we tend to find out the hard way with sore and aching muscles the next day! The old saying, "no pain, no gain", really shouldn't apply when it comes to exercise. Usually once your body reaches the point where it's sore; you've done too much too soon and probably didn't do your body any good either. Anyways…back to preparing for that first walk to get back in shape.

Proper Clothing

Before you start walking make sure you have the correct clothing. It's not like you're walking across the street where it really wouldn't matter. You're planning on doing some distance walking (hopefully), even though you're not starting off real big the first day out. Wear clothing that's loose fitting and in layers so you can always remove some if you become hot. At the same time, if it's cold outside, layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one heavy bulky item of clothing. If you're walking at night, wear reflective tape or bright colors.

Good Walking Shoes

Make sure you have some comfortable walking shoes. This is not just something made up by shoe manufacturers to get your money. Shoes really do make a difference and when you're walking, you should have good walking shoes. Your feet will be doing all the work for you so treat them right and protect them.

Warm Up

Regardless of how good of shape you claim to be in, don't ever underestimate the importance of warming up before you begin walking. You don't have to spend hours exercising to get in shape but start off walking really slow for a few minutes just to get your muscles warmed up. Walking in place will help as well. After you feel you're warmed up, do a few muscle stretches for your calves, hamstrings and quadriceps. Once you feel warm and limber, you're ready to walk for fitness!

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