A good, brisk walk three, four or more times a week will make your life better than ever. Even more, walking is the most injury-free exercise there is and can be done in nearly any weather and at any age.
You don't need special equipment to walk. A good pair of cross trainers or similar shoes, thick socks, comfortable clothes (layers work best), and sunblock are all the special equipment you need. You might want to clip a pedometer on your belt, too, to keep track of how far you go.
When you walk, take along a bottle of water and a cell phone (for safety). And ask a like-minded friend to join you.
Start slowly. If you have not exercised much in past years, walk around the block or for five to ten minutes. Very quickly you will be able -- and eager -- to go further.
Choose a relatively flat area to walk. Some good choices are local tracks (check out the high school), indoor malls, and parks along lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Do not worry about how far you walk. Any distance is beneficial; the most important thing is to walk regulary every week. Commit to at least three weekly walks and if you feel like it, increase that number to six or seven times a week.
Step It Up
After you can walk for about an hour without tiring, think about increasing your pace. This is good for your heart and lungs, as well as your muscles and waistline.
If you can walk a mile in 15 minutes, you will get the same calorie-burning benefits as running a mile in about nine minutes.
More vigorous walking will not burn many more calories but will enhance your cardio workout.
As you walk, swing your arms, stand straight, and breathe deeply. Put your feet down, heels first and then roll onto the balls of the feet.
When you become a strong walker, you will want to go farther, tackle hills and rougher terrain, and keep track of your time and your distance.
Even if you never become an overly energetic walker, if you walk regularly, soon you will feel better, look better and sleep better. If there is a down side, we can't find it.