The American Heart Association’s Heart Walk 2016 is fast approaching. Here’s what you need to know for walking success.
By now you know walking does a body good. It’s touted as the panacea for everything from depression to dementia, and for good reason. The mental and physical benefits you receive from doing this one exercise on a daily – even weekly – basis helps your mind and your heart stay healthy and strong.
Get pumped to walk
Some of the best reasons to use walking as an exercise, of course, are that it’s free and always available to you. You don’t need a costly gym membership or a sad reminder of a treadmill-turned-expensive-clothes rack at home to get you thinking about a walking routine! All you need is the motivation to get fit and stay healthy.
Health Net helps you out!
Luckily for you, Health Net is keeping its pulse on what it means to be heart healthy at any age. On September 24 in Sacramento, and October 8 in Pasadena, Health Net is teaming up with the American Heart Association (AHA) for Heart Walk 2016. Both locations have a 3-mile (5K) and a 1-mile walk. We’ve been calling on everyone, especially Health Net employees, their families and friends, to participate in this important initiative to promote the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. What better ways to kick start your commitment than to join us at Heart Walk?
So, if you’re not signed up, take a minute to do so now. And, if you are, we’ve got some tips that’ll keep you one step ahead of getting sore feet.
Three Weeks Before
- Walking is a fitness activity that deserves a little bit of training so you don’t get injured. Before walking, do proper flexibility stretches and strengthening exercises to increase blood flow and warm up your body. Don’t skip this step – the last thing you want is to injure yourself the day before – or during – the walk.
- Purchase a flexible pair of walking/running shoes and the proper socks (you want a performance footbed and extra support in the arch) for the walk. Start wearing your shoes/socks regularly while you walk at least 15 minutes every day to start. You want to start building your endurance if walking for exercise isn’t something you’re in the habit of doing. If exercise walking is already a part of your life, simply walk at your normal routine rate and see if you can up the duration a bit.
- Concentrate on developing good walking posture. Doing so will help you breathe deeper, walk energetically and develop a natural walking stride that’s best for your body.
One Week Before
- Purchase a hydration pack or water bottle for the walk. Hydration is crucial during the walk, and you’ll be more likely to drink up if it’s convenient for you. Hydration packs allow you to bring more water with you, but can be heavy on your back. Water bottles that come with their own belt may be more comfortable, and are easier to fill along the trail. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re hydrating every 15 minutes to ward off muscle cramps, dizziness, headache and lightheadedness during the walk.
- Check your sleep habits. Make sure you (and your children, if they’re joining you) get the right amount of sleep starting a few days before the walk. Adults typically need between seven and nine hours each night, while it’s more like 9 to 11 hours for children.
Day of the Heart Walk
- Get an early start so you’re not stressing about parking or having to find your team. Give yourself plenty of time to check in, do some stretching, fill your water bottle and get started.
- Eat foods that are easily digestible for you. You’re not running a marathon; you’re walking, so just concentrate on eating a healthy breakfast as you normally would. Oatmeal, dried fruit, fresh blueberries, a banana, a bagel with peanut butter and a protein bar are examples of some healthy foods that’ll fuel your body. Also, drink plenty of liquids before the walk.
Participating at Heart Walk is important, fun and enjoyable. By walking, you’re raising awareness for cardiovascular disease on many levels, and you’re doing something good for your own mind and body. Step up for yourself – and those you love – and together we can lower the number of people affected by heart disease.