On your mark, get set, walk!

Walking is a convenient exercise for individuals looking to incorporate more low-impact physical activity into their daily routine.

Adopting a consistent walking routine is an important step towards an overall healthier lifestyle and can help reduce instances of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease; but even an activity as straightforward as walking requires a little bit of planning.

First, set a daily or weekly walking goal, such as walking every Monday morning, that focuses on either distance, pace, duration, or some combination of the three. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends able-bodied adults engage in at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, so getting in around 30 minutes of walking a day, five days a week is a good goal to work towards. If 30 minutes is too much, start with 15 minutes and add an additional 5 minutes every subsequent day until you reach 30 minutes.

Second, as with any new physical fitness routine, it’s important to go at your own pace and aim for steady incremental progress. Dramatic changes don’t happen overnight, so trust the process, and help yourself stick with it by making your walks easily accessible.

Lastly, make sure you have the proper equipment and footwear. A high-quality pair of walking shoes with proper padding and enough space between your toes and the front of the shoe will make each step smoother. There are other features — an Achilles tendon protector, heel collar, gel or air midsole — that will ease the impact on the joints and reduce the chances of injury.

This Monday, write down your goals and make sure you’ve got some supportive shoes.