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Tips for Bringing an Indoor Walking Program Outdoors

Turn Off the Treadmill and Head Outdoors

If you've been spending a lot of time on the treadmill these days and want to take it outdoors, there are a few things you can do to ease the transition. Prevention has a few simple tips for taking your indoor walk outdoors. They are:

  • Protect yourself. Wear well-cushioned walking shoes, a hat with a protective visor, and sunscreen. Choose sweat-wicking clothes to keep you dry on brisk days.
  • Start slowly, progress gradually. Substitute 1 outdoor day for an indoor day each week. The first week, walk 1 day outside and 4 days on the treadmill. The second week, walk 2 days outside.
  • Give your body extra respect. Expect outdoor walking to feel a bit awkward at first. You may take longer strides and use more of your lower leg muscles on uneven surfaces and for push-off. Avoid injury and muscle soreness by walking at a slower pace for 5 minutes before your workout and by stretching after every walk.
  • Soak up your surroundings. Notice the sky, clouds, and flowers. Say hi to your neighbors. Keep your eyes focused several feet in front of you so that you can anticipate terrain and traffic.
  • Be your own computer. If you like the feedback treadmills give about pace and distance, try timing yourself on an outdoor walking track. Most tracks are 1/4 mile. If you walk four laps in 15 minutes, your pace is 4 mph.

While these tips are primarily for walking, I think they'd also be good to use for taking any kind of exercise outdoors as well.

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