Walking with a friend is just one great way to energize a walking routine.

©2007 Photodisc

Walking can help you attain that trim figure you've been "dieting" to have. It allows you to burn off fat without losing muscle and without depriving your body of the essential nutrients it needs. And it can help tone your muscles and shape up your legs.

You may have heard similar claims made for other aerobic exercises. But consider this: The only exercise that will do you any good is the exercise you do. And walking is easy -- as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

The articles below outline the health and fitness benefits of walking and provide you with the information you need to walk safely and efficiently. You'll learn how to prepare your body for a walking program and get tips on making healthy changes in your diet, checking out your health before you hit the road, and preparing for bad-weather and nighttime workouts. You'll even learn how you can use your heart rate as a guide to exercise intensity.

Follow these links and take the first step to a healthier lifestyle.

ADDITIONAL CREDITS:Peggy Norwood Keating, MA, Contributing consultantRebecca Hughes, Contributing Writer