ou've probably done it every day of your life since you were a child. From the minute you get up in the morning, until you retire for the night, walking has been a necessary part of your life. Now, let it be your pathway to good health. Easing yourself into an exercise that you like and can do is the best way to make exercise a part of your everyday life. Walking is an excellent choice if you need something that's effective, low-impact, and uncomplicated. You can do it year-round, and you don't need special equipment, clothing, or previous sports skills. The best thing about it is that you already know most of the basics, but Maggie Spilner can teach you the rest. Spilner's new book is properly titled it is a complete book of walking. It's divided into eight parts, covering every phase of walking, from putting on properly fitting shoes to competing in race-walking marathons. The author begins by explaining the abundance of medical benefits derived from walking and its effect on arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stress, and depression. This alone may be enough to get you started along the walking path to better health. Choosing properly fitting shoes and clothing is important to your walking comfort. Spilner gives pointers on these as well as handling the heat, cold, and bothersome allergies. And, since race-walking is an excellent way to reduce body fat while getting into better aerobic shape, the author shows you how to eat properly for weight loss, create your own fitness program, and increase your walking speed for a "slow burn." As your fitness improves, you'll want more ways to use your walking skills in competitions. Spilner offers an eight-week training plan to prepare for a 5K, gives informative tips on joining a race-walking marathon team, and prepares you for competing in longer distance relays.

Finally, she includes Suki Munsell's six-week Dynamic Walking techniques, which will restore your body's posture and help you walk stronger, faster, and farther. Walking for exercise involves a bit more than simply putting one foot in front of the other, but Maggie Spilner makes the learning process interesting and informative. You'll discover that you're never too old to enjoy it or reap its benefits.

Pat Regel runs and race-walks in Nashville.

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