- If you have oxygen, check with your physician about the correct amount to use when you’re walking.
- Do not attempt to walk and talk while beginning your exercise program.
- Inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips.
- Exhale at least twice as long as you inhale. Don’t force the air out during exhalation.
- Start with short walks. Your breathing muscles and your walking muscles need to get into shape.
- Use “rhythmic breathing.” Count the number of steps you take while inhaling and double the number of steps for exhalation. Example: 2 steps — inhale, 4 steps — exhale. Do not change the rhythm from inhalation to exhalation.
- With practice, you may find that a 3 to 1 rhythm is more comfortable than 2 to 1. Use the rhythm that is most comfortable for you.
- Gradually increase your walking distance as you get stronger. Try to add a little more distance every week. Don’t overextend yourself.
- Set reasonable goals. Plan rest stops. Don’t allow yourself to get overtired.
- During inclement weather, or times of the year when you’re most uncomfortable, you can get your exercise in climate controlled areas like shopping malls or in a more formal environment like a hospital’s rehabilitation area.
- Remember, go slow, don’t rush, get stronger, and most of all, enjoy yourself.