Expert Author Kasia Lanucha

Walking is an ideal form of exercise for people who are just starting out their fitness program. It's easy and light on the joints and offers great health benefits. If you're thinking of starting a walking program it's useful to take a little time to pick out some walking routes. Planning ahead will help make sure that you stay committed to your exercise goals throughout the year. Different routes will also add variety and help you stick with your exercise program.

Here are a few tips on how to choose routes for your walking exercise program.

An athletic track is a good place to walk because most standard tracks are 440 yards on the inside lane, which measures out to about a quarter of a mile. Walking laps around the track will give you a precise measure of how far you walk every day and there are many people who like this kind of feedback. You should have the other routes planned out because walking around the track all the time can quickly become monotonous, especially if you are doing your exercise on your own.

To break up the routine a park is a wonderful place to walk. The natural environment and greenery will keep you inspired and you will return home feeling reinvigorated physically and emotionally. As the seasons change, however, for people who live in more Northern latitudes outdoor walking can become difficult during the winter months. If you dress well and stay covered up in sub-zero temperatures your walking program will not be too greatly affected during the winter chill. The exception to this is when there is ice on the ground. It is not advisable to walk on this kind of surface and risk falls and serious injuries.

For those people who do not like to exercise in cold weather and in those situations where there is a lot of ice on the ground you can go inside by finding a local mall to do your walk. Walking in a shopping mall provides a different kind of stimulation as you can see a variety of people when you walk around the length and breadth of the mall in a comfortable, controlled environment. Try not to get distracted by the stores. Keep your shopping visits and your mall walking in separate categories in your mind so you stay focused.

The common factor in all these kinds of routes is searching for a set distance which will allow you to do laps. In choosing good locations it is best to map places which will allow a stop at a public bathroom if the need arises. And also, if an injury occurs, the proximity of aid stations will ensure that at no point will you be too far away from either your home or from a source of transportation that can get you back home or to a health clinic.

You should always address safety concerns when you are deciding on your route. Find a safe walking route that is not intruded upon by automobiles. Then, choose terrain that is level so that you avoid injuries caused by turning over your ankles on uneven surfaces.

If you take these factors in consideration before starting your walking program and plan out a number of walking routes, you will decrease the chance of becoming bored with your schedule and you will be better able to keep your exercise commitment, which in the end is the most important thing. Consistency as all health professionals recommend is the key to achieving sustainable success.

Kasia Lanucha is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and finding new ways to improve our inner potential. A mother of three children she also loves to share and exchange ideas.

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