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Updated: 1/14/2003 2:33 pm
Walking is an excellent alternative to running. It is a sport that is easy to participate in and can be done virtually anywhere. Fewer injuries occur while walking than in most other sports. Walking helps build stamina, improve fitness, release tension and anxiety, helps prevent heart disease, helps in losing pounds and inches, as well as strengthen muscles and tissues. When walking, direct all motion forward. Keep an upright posture and look straight ahead. Keep your arms bent at your waist and swing them back and forth, not side to side. Remember to take strides you are comfortable with. Overstriding can strain leg and buttock muscles. Shorten your stride going uphill and slightly lengthen it coming down. Your heel should touch the ground first, then roll to the ball of the foot. Push off through the toes. Remember to warm up slowly before each workout and cool down afterwards with some easy, slow stretches to prevent muscle soreness and to improve your flexibility. Don't overexercise, build up your distance and speed gradually. For more information on walking, contact a health care professional.

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