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For many people, the biggest barrier to fitness is finding an activity that you can stick to and do easily. If you regularly run, bike or do aerobics, you may not think of walking as a workout. But think again. Regular walking to and from work, or at lunchtime, can contribute to your overall fitness level by getting you up and away from your desk, even for 15 minutes or so, and even if it's walking down the street to Starbucks.
In terms of convenience, walking may be the best workout there is. If you are new to fitness, walking is a way to gradually introduce your body to activity. If you are already active, walking during the day helps recovery from your tough workouts by promoting blood flow and reducing the effects of delayed-onset muscle soreness so you are less stiff when it's time for your next tough workout.
And try this butt-toning tip as a bonus while walking: Keep the heel of your back foot on the ground as long as possible, and when you lift your heel, try to roll across your entire foot and push off with your toes. If you can manage this, you'll feel your gluteal muscles working more with each step. Of course this is tricky if you're at work and wearing heels, but try it when you are walking and wearing workout gear and you'll feel the burn.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|