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Research supports the idea that walking 10,000 steps a day contributes to reducing the risk of cancer and chronic diseases.
Walking is effective exercise if done mindfully; as you start out, pay attention to your posture and stride.
Start with a warm-up: walk at a slow, easy pace for at least five minutes, and stretch before you pick up your pace or add any inclines.
Use the heel-toe method: start on your heel, roll evenly through the step and push off with your toes. Avoid overstriding. Rather than taking longer steps, which can be inefficient and potentially harmful, take more, smaller steps to increase speed.
At the end of your exercise, walk at a slow easy pace for five to 10 minutes, to allow your heart rate to gradually return to normal. Finish by repeating the stretches you did during your warm-up to avoid fatigue and muscle tightness later on.
Your body needs water to maintain normal temperature and keep your muscles cool. Make sure to drink water before, during and after your walk. Feeling thirsty when you engage in exercise is a sign of dehydration.
Walking is one of the least likely exercises to cause injury. By pacing yourself, easing in to your new exercise regimen, wearing appropriate shoes and being conscious of proper technique, you can avoid injuries. If you develop an injury, consult your physician for treatment options.
Remember to talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Learn about Dana-Farber's exercise classes and consults for cancer patients and survivors.