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The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

Personal trainer Jessica Smith recommends you focus on five things to improve your fitness and get maximum health benefits

 
1. Speed Try varying your pace to add intensity without zapping energy: walk at a brisk, steady pace for 3 min, then power walk for 1 min. Continue this cycle until you’ve completed your target time or distance.

2. Posture Good posture not only helps prevent aches and pains, but it can also help you burn more calories by engaging more muscles. Keep your shoulders back, chest wide and abs pulled in (imagine drawing your belly button into your spine).

3. Feet Activating your shins more during your walk can help strengthen them and may help to prevent trips and falls. Focus on flexing your foot with each step, then pushing off the ball of the foot to power forward.

4. Breathing Take deep belly breaths (rather than the shallow, quick breaths in the chest you may be used to taking). This will help provide your muscles with the oxygen your body needs to power through your walk.

5. Motivation Walk with a friend or move to music – whatever helps you give your all during your walk time. Try alternating walks with an indoor workout using a DVD – you may find it helps you stick to a regular exercise plan.