Walking reduces blood pressure, lowers the levels of ” bad LDL ” cholesterol in your blood tones up your muscles and strengthens your bones. An excellent form of exercise for persons who wish to lose weight, or simple improve their fitness level through low impact and low intensity exercise.
Requiring only simple equipment, and being able to be performed by almost anyone anywhere and at any time, walking should be promoted more for good health.
Brisk walking is an ideal way to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. A recent study found that men who take regular brisk walks have less than half the rate of heart disease and heart attacks than those that do not.
How you can train without realizing it.
* Build a walk into your journey to work, walk to the train / park away from the office.
* Aim to walk to the shops, or any other short journeys.
* Enjoy the fresh air and countryside, take the family and dog (your best fitness) friend out for long steady walks.
TIPS FOR WALKING FASTER
1. Use good posture. Walk tall, look forward, (not at the ground) gazing about 20 feet ahead. Your chin should be level and your head up.
2. Keep your chest raised, and shoulders relaxed (shoulders down, back and relaxed).
3. Bend your arms in slightly less than a 90 degree angle. Cup your hands gently. Swing arms front to back (not side to side – arms should not cross your body.) Do not swing elbows higher than your sternum (breast bone). Swing your arms faster and your feet will follow.
4. Tighten your abs and buttocks.. Flatten your back and tilt your pelvis slightly forward.
5. Pretend you are walking along a straight line. Resist the urge to elongate your steps. To go faster — take smaller, faster steps.
6. Push off with your toes. Concentrate on landing on your heel, rolling through the step and pushing off with your toes. Use the natural spring of your calf muscles to propel you forward.
7. Breathe naturally. As you walk, take deep, rhythmic breaths, to get the maximum amount of oxygen through your system. Walk fast enough that your breathing is increased yet you are not out of breath.
Common mistakes made by walkers…
1. Do not over stride
2. Do not use too vigorous arm movements
3. Do not look at the ground (Common among women)
4. Do not hunch your shoulders
5. Do not carry hand weights or place weights on your ankles
How long should I walk for?
* To maintain health with regular physical activity: Walk for 20 – 30+ minutes’ duration’s most days of the week at a “talking” pace.
* Weight management: Walk for 30 – 45+ minutes at a comfortable pace for as many days as possible. Aim to keep the pace constant, being able to talk throughout, however finish slightly out of breath.
* Cardiovascular fitness: Walk 20+ minutes at a fast pace, ideally over slightly hilly terrain, aim for 2-3 sessions per week, increasing both your breathing and heart rate, whilst staying in a comfortable condition.
* Exercise should never be painful, if you feel any severe pain, see you doctor immediately, telling them your symptoms.
Before you start
Make sure that you are ready physically by seeing your doctor, especially if you have been sedentary for a while, and have any condition which could be affected by exercise, such as high blood pressure.
Warm-up and stretch the lower body, especially the calves. See the section on stretching in the Fitness section of the web site. Perform a gradual 5 minute walk then stretch. Likewise on completion stretch out again to help prevent muscle soreness and strain in your muscles.
Prepare your route, what you are wearing and learn how to deal with any emergencies.
Concentrate on safe routes in busy areas that you know when starting out, just in case you feel ill, or simply to tired to continue and to avoid getting lost.
Public parks, shopping areas and zoos are all ideal beginner’s routes. For those that are slightly fitter nature trails and larger parks offer both great scenery and a wider variety of routes. Make sure that you stick to both well established tracks and if possible have a map and compass of the area, with the knowledge to use it.
It is important that your clothes are both comfortable and practical. I wear shorts and I find very few people do so.. Why don`t guys walk like that.?
Keeping your clothing clean will enable the fibres to both keep your warm and also take the sweat away from your body; matted fibres will not do this.
Wearing layers will enable you to both keep warm, as the air is trapped between the layers of clothing, and also let you take layers off as you start to get warm.
Avoid going for looks; go for comfort when choosing your walking shoes. Training shoes with a laced fit, with rubber soles offer good support for general walking on firm ground. If walking over uneven hilly ground a hiking boot with more support is recommended.
When purchasing your shoes, wear your socks, sports socks for trainers, or two thin pairs / one thick pair for hiking boots, cotton / wool non tight socks will allow your feet to breathe. There are many good designs from fitness walking shoes through hiking boots. You will want more flex in an athletic shoe, more support in a hiking shoe.
When choosing hiking boots, you should be able to twist them a bit (torsion flexibility) . They need more of a bend than a running shoe – in the forefoot, not the arch, in order to keep the front of the boot slightly off the ground.
Inside the boot, you should have good arch support, and a correct fitting, if they feel tight, go up a size, as your feet will expand when hot and under pressure.
Boots should have a good pattern on the sole, with at least 1/2 inch of rubber to give both cushioning and grip. The rest of the boot should be made of strong leather or breathable nylon with good water proofing capabilities.
BENEFITS OF WALKING
* Burns calories
* Strengthens back muscles
* Slims your waist
* Easy on your joints
* Strengthens your bones
* Lowers blood pressure
* Allows time with family and friends
* Shapes and tones your legs and butt
* Cuts cholesterol
* Reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, & more
* Reduces stress
* Sleep better
* Improves mood and outlook on life
* Can be done almost anywhere
* Requires no equipment
* AND it’s Free