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  Walking For Fitness  

Walking is, without question, the most popular physical activity in the United States. It's fairly easy on the body, it's cheap, it's easy and people of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy a good walk. Whether you're walking your dog around the block, walking to clear your thoughts, walking in the park, walking as part of a weight-loss program or walking through the mall, walking will not only improve your health but give your more energy and lift your spirits.

Walking is so much fun that people of all ages are walking. More elderly and seniors are walking than ever before. Walking provides seniors with extra energy, more fresh air and a great sense of well being, which all adds to the quality of their life. Although people of all ages should always take safety measures when out walking, it's even more important for seniors to follow these important tips.

•    Make sure you warm up before starting your walk and cool down when you're finished. You don't have to spend a long time warming up; just long enough to do a few stretches for your legs, arms and back. Walking in place is also a great warm up exercise. Don't try to do too much too soon. Build up your pace, distance and speed gradually.

•    Make sure you drink plenty of water before during and after your walk, even in cold weather. Water is not just important in warm weather. Before you start your walk drink eight ounces of water, another eight during the walk and at least that much when you're done. Dedicated walkers weigh themselves before and after the walk to see how much sweat they've lost and drink two cups of water per pound of sweat lost.
•    Try to stay on the sidewalks or any paths that may be present. If you're forced to walk near or on the road, make sure you face oncoming traffic they'll be able to see you as good as you can see them. Avoid walking after dark and avoid dangerous crosswalks or intersections.

•    Pay attention to all traffic signals and signs and allow yourself plenty of time to cross the street.

•    If you begin feeling dizzy, nauseous or have chest pains, stop immediately and call for help.

•    Buddy up with a friend or as part of a group. It's more fun that way, easier to stay motivated and it's also much safer.

•    Stick with your walking and don't give up!

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