(NewsUSA) - Want to get outdoors, improve your health and socialize with friends? It might be time to put on your walking shoes.
Regular physical activity may help control weight and lower the risk for certain diseases.
Some exercise is always better than none. If you're not used to exercise, walking is a great way to become more active. Walking requires a pair of sturdy walking shoes to get started, and proves a viable way to burn calories, build bone density, reduce the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and socialize with friends.
Not sure how to get started? Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better, a national initiative of the Weight-control Information Network (WIN) designed to encourage Black women to exercise and eat healthier foods, offers the following tips to get moving:
* Make it fun. Find a partner. Your walking partner should be able to match your speed.
* Find proper footgear. Wear shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick, flexible soles.
* Wear clothes that will keep you dry and comfortable. Look for synthetic fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin.
* Divide your walk into sections. Warm up by walking slowly for five minutes. Then, increase your speed and do a fast walk. Finally, cool down by walking slowly again for five minutes. Do light stretching after your warm-up and cool-down.
* Try to walk as often as possible. To avoid stiff or sore muscles and joints, start gradually. Over several weeks, begin walking faster, going farther, and walking for longer periods of time. Aim for 30 minutes of walking a day on most, if not all, days of the week.
* Set goals and rewards. A goal might be participating in a fun walk or walking continuously for 30 minutes. Reward yourself when you meet a goal, but not with high-calorie foods.
For more information and tips, visit the WIN site at www.win.niddk.nih.gov.