UCR

Walking Fit



Frequently Asked Questions


There are many questions asked not only about Walking Fit but also about overall fitness. Below are some answers to those questions.

Should I stretch before I walk?

Which muscles should I stretch after I walk?

How much water should I drink?

What is the best posture while walking?

Should I see my doctor before beginning a walking program?

Is it possible to do too much walking?

How do I get my pedometer?

Why can't I log more than 15,000 steps per day?

What's the simplest way to determine how fast I'm walking?

How many calories do I burn by walking a mile?

When should I get new shoes?

My hands swell when I walk. Is this a problem?

What should I wear when I walk?

Which are the best shoes to wear while walking?

How can I get a replacement pedometer?

What is the difference between the Beginner and Advanced walking levels?

Q: Should I stretch before I walk?
A: Static stretches, where you hold a stretch in place for 10-30 seconds should be done at the end of your walk.  This allows the mucles to be fully warmed up before stretching them further.  These stretches will help improve or maintain your flexibility.  Dynamic stretching, where you are moving throughout the entire strech can be done prior to walking.  Try arm circles or leg swings to get your body ready for your walk.   (Back to Top)

Q: Which muscles should I stretch after I walk?
A: Below are some stretches that you may find helpful as you begin your walking program.

Click Here to view the stretches.

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Q: How much water should I drink?
A: Because your body is approximately 75% water, it is vital that you drink plenty of water each day.

Each day you should drink 50% of your body weight (in ounces). This percentage increases to 75% if you are active.  For example:

If you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 oz. (160 X .5) if you are sedentary and 120 oz. (160 X.75) if you are active. 

You should increase your water intake if:

  • You live in a dry climate
  • You exercise (Add 8 oz. of water for every 20 minutes of exercise!)

Be careful when drinking beverages containing caffeine (such as coffee, tea and soda) or alcohol. These types of beverages are diuretics, which will cause you to become dehydrated when they replace water intake. Caffeine and alcohol actually cause you to lose increased amounts of water from your body’s reserves.

If you get bored with plain water, try adding a lemon, an orange or a cucumber for a great flavor twist!

Signs of dehydration can be any of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark urine

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Q: What is the best posture while walking?
A: Good posture can contribute to an increase in walking efficiency and can help prevent unnecessary pain or problems.  Here are a few tips to maintain good walking form.

  • Stand up straight.
  • Think of being a tall and straight, do not arch your back.
  • Do not lean forward or lean back. Leaning puts strain on the back muscles.
  • Eyes forward, not looking down but rather 20 feet ahead.
  • Chin up (parallel to the ground). This reduces strain on neck and back.
  • Shrug once and let your shoulders fall and relax, your shoulders slightly back.
  • Suck in your stomach
  • Tuck in your behind - rotate your hip forward slightly. This will keep you from arching your back.

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Q: Should I see my doctor before beginning a walking program?
A:  It is always recommended that you see your physician before beginning any exercise program.  It is especially important that you see your physician if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions:

  • Has your health care provider told you that you have heart trouble, diabetes, or asthma?
  • When you are physically active, do you have pains in your chest, neck, shoulder, or arm?
  • Do you often feel faint or have dizzy spells?
  • Do you feel extremely breathless after you have been physically active?
  • Has your health care provider told you that you have high blood pressure?
  • Has your health care provider told you that you have bone or joint problems, such as arthritis?
  • Are you over 50 years old and not used to doing any moderate physical activity?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have any other health problem or physical reason not mentioned here that might keep you from starting a walking program?

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Q: Is it possible to do too much walking?
A: Yes.  If you're new to walking, it is important that you build up your time and mileage gradually. After all, you want your feet to toughen up and your muscles to get used to the exertion. It is also important to remember that walking on inclines (hills) can increase your chances of feeling pain or soreness.

If you're already walking regularly and you really pick up your pace, you can just as easily over train. Here are some indicators that you may need to reduce your intensity or distance or even take a day off once in a while:

  1. Your daily walks seem to be getting harder instead of easier.
  2. You feel more tired than usual during the day.
  3. You have difficulty springing out of bed in the morning.
  4. You have trouble falling asleep or sleeping soundly.
  5. You begin eating less or eating irregularly.

Finally, you may not actually hurt yourself, but if you feel stiff and sore, it may keep you from going out again.

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Q: How do I get my pedometer?
A: After registering on the website, you print out your registration confirmation and bring it to the Recreation Center North Monday-Friday between the hours 8 am to 5 pm. You can also contact Julie Chobdee in Human Resources at x2-1488.  (Back to Top)

Q: Why can't I log more than 15,000 steps per day?
A: We don’t permit participants to log more than 15,000 steps a day on the UC Riverside WalkingFit website for the following reasons:

  • The UCR WalkingFit program is restricted in its ability to provide unlimited incentives and the 15,000 steps per day limit helps to facilitate the management of the incentive component of the program more efficiently. The best incentive is achieving health and fitness!

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Q: What's the simplest way to determine how fast I'm walking?
A: The easiest way to gauge your speed without wearing a pedometer--or getting in your car and measuring mileage, which can be pretty difficult unless you walk along a street--is to count your number of steps per minute. The experts use this number to calculate pace, based on an average stride length of 2½ feet. (Stride length is the distance from the heel of one foot to the heel of the other foot when you're taking a step.) They've already done the math for you.

  • 70 steps per minute equals 30 minutes per mile, or 2 miles per hour.
  • 105 steps per minute equals 20 minutes per mile, or 3 miles per hour.
  • 140 steps per minute equals 15 minutes per mile, or 4 miles per hour.

If you pay attention to your steps, after a while you'll be able to estimate your pace fairly accurately without bothering to count. You'll just know what a 20-minute mile or a 15-minute mile feels like.

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Q: How many calories do I burn by walking a mile?
A: The average 150-pound person burns between 80 and 100 calories per mile. However, that number changes depending on height, weight, fitness level, terrain, clothing, temperature, and many other factors.

For more information, Click Here

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Q: When should I get new shoes?
A: Replace your walking shoes every 6 months or 600 miles, whichever comes first. At that point, it doesn't matter if the shoes still look great; they've lost a lot of their cushioning. (Back to Top)

Q: My hands swell when I walk. Is this a problem?
A: Swelling in your hands is normal. When you swing your arms, the blood rushes down into your fingers. It isn't harmful, but it could be uncomfortable, especially if you wear rings. It's a good idea to take off your rings before you go walking. If the swelling bothers you, try squeezing your hands into fists from time to time while you walk. This helps push blood back from the fingers. Some people carry small rubber balls to squeeze. (Back to Top)

Q: What should I wear when I walk?
A:
  • Your walking clothing should be comfortable and loose-fitting to allow you to move.
  • Depending on your climate, dress in layers so you may remove a layer as you warm up while walking, and put it back on if you feel cool.
  • If you do not plan to walk up a sweat, a system can be as simple as a t-shirt, light sweater, and windproof jacket.
  • If you sweat while walking, you should invest in CoolMax or polypropylene shirts to wick the sweat away from the body.
  • In cooler climates you may want an insulating layer of polar fleece or wool.
  • Socks should be comfortable, and the modern running socks made from CoolMax or other high-tech fibers are preferable to cotton, as they prevent blisters by keeping the feet drier.
  • A hat is essential to preventing sun exposure or keeping you from losing heat.
  • Sunglasses for outdoor walking prevent UV exposure for your eyes.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Carry keys and other articles in pockets or a hip pack.
  • Pack lightly for most walks and leave the heavy purse at home.
  • Carry water if you plan to be walking for a half hour or more with no water on your route. A hip pack with built-in water bottle holder is convenient.

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Q: Which are the best shoes to wear while walking?
A: There is no one best shoe. The best shoe for you is the the one that fits you best, the one that gives you the proper support, flexibility, cushioning, and compensates for any stride problems you may have, such as overpronation. Each person's feet are different. Take all advice with a grain of salt and find a shoe fitting expert to help you find the shoe that is best for your walking distance, speed, style, and surface as well as your weight and stride. (Back to Top)

Q: How can I get a replacement pedometer?
A: Participants are welcome to obtain a replacement pedometer (free of charge) at the Recreation Center North Monday-Friday between the hours 8 am to 5 pm. You can also contact Julie Chobdee in Human Resources at x2-1488
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Q: What is the difference between the Beginner and Advanced walking levels?
A: The primary difference between the Beginner and Advanced walking levels is the maximum number of steps you can enter in a given day. The Beginner Level allows for 0 – 15,000 steps per day and the Advanced Level allows for 0 – 30,000 steps per day. Walkers compete only against other walkers in their level. (Back to Top)

 

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General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Walking Fit

Julie Chobdee, MPH
Wellness Program Coordinator
Human Resources
1160 University Ave.

Tel: (951) 827-1488
Fax: (951) 827-3089
E-mail: julie.chobdee@ucr.edu

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