While some people may be suited to the hardcore, intense exercise regimes of interval training, sprinting and Crossfit, many of us find this kind of exercise to be a little too much. Luckily, you don't have to exhaust yourself in order to do your body good. Low impact, low energy exercises like walking can provide many cardiovascular benefits, and you won't even feel like you're working out.
What are the benefits?
Regular brisk walking can do wonders for your cardiovascular health. Not only does it increase your fitness, but it can also lower your risk of heart disease and stroke and help to manage medical conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.
Walking is so beneficial that the Australian Heart Foundation has set up the country's largest network of free walking groups, as well as advocating for workplace walking. That means there are more opportunities than ever to get out in your community and interact with others while getting active.
How much should I do?
If you're starting from scratch, aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking a day. This is a pace where you can still talk to a companion, however you may start puffing slightly. As your fitness builds you can increase the length and speed of your walks, as well as adding inclines to work different muscles.
What equipment do I need?
If you're committed to achieving the recommended count of 10,000 steps per day, an activity tracker will allow you to track your progress. Get correctly fitted for a pair of walking shoes. Different foot types require different shoes or orthotics to account for arch type and correct things like over pronation. Getting the right pair of shoes will help prevent aches and pains and reduce the chance of injury.