This article was originally published here.

Start exercising safely by opting for active walking: a sport which is accessible to all, comprehensive, yet gentle on your joints.
1. Active Walking, The Ideal Activity For Taking Up Sport Again

If you want to start practising outdoor sport again, active walking combines several advantages. It is accessible to people of all levels of fitness and requires limited equipment, just a suitable pair of shoes to start. You can walk whenever and wherever you want and pace yourself according to how you feel and the goals you want to achieve.

All this, without risk as Dr Bacquaert, sports and sports health consultant, points out. « With active walking, the joints are not strained during the propulsion of the body forwards, because when we walk, one foot is always on the ground! »
2. A Gentle And Gradual Way To Get Back To Fitness

« Your return to physical activity should be gradual, because to begin with, you are likely to get out of breath very quickly », warns Dr Bacquaert.

To get your body used to this effort, certain stages should be followed :

-consult your doctor to ensure that you are in physical condition for taking up sport once again ;

-make sure that you warm up by walking for several minutes at a relaxed pace ;

-never force your body: gradually increase your speed until you reach the pace of an active walker ;

-at the end of the session, return to a more natural speed for a few minutes.

-breathe deeply and hydrate yourself to avoid sore muscles.
3. Fitness Walking: Rapid And Motivating Progress

Rest assured: this gentle return to sport nevertheless has radical positive effects on your body and on your health!

According to Dr Bacquaert,« at a speed of between 5 and 6 km/h, you will be making significant progress. This will promote your well-being and work the whole body, toning the muscles of the lower limbs, abdominals, arms muscles and the muscles supporting the spinal column ».

Beyond maintaining you in peak physical condition, the benefits of active walking can also be felt on your morale, self-confidence and even your heart health !

Simply walking fast over an extended period contributes to strengthening your cardiac capacity : you will breathe more effectively and your body will adapt naturally to the extra effort. Isn't that motivating?
4. The Importance Of Walking Actively… Before Running!

A comprehensive endurance activity, active walking is a good prelude to returning to other sporting practices such as cycling, swimming and of course, running.

Why? Because excess kilos are the enemy of runners! Active walking combined with a healthier diet can regulate excess weight problems if they are mild and prevent you from damaging your joints from taking up running directly.

A last tip before you reach for your walking shoes? « If you are feeling any pain, fatigue or cramps, stop », recommends Dr Bacquaert, « breathe and drink plenty of water to rehydrate yourself ».