Get ready to spice up your walking program
More and more women
opt for walking as a form of
cardiovascular exercise to
burn calories and
melt away the unwanted fat. Walking for fitness is certainly much more than
going out for a stroll. It incorporates the
muscles of the upper and lower body making it a GREAT aerobic activity.
Regular fitness walking strengthens and tones muscles; increases stamina,
metabolism and energy; burns calories and fat; relieves
cardiovascular health; lowers
blood pressure and
reduces the risk of heart disease and
of all, it's easy on the joints (low-impact) and light on the pocket.
Check out the following tips to add variety & intensity in
your walking program.
Start with easy 20 to 30 minute walking sessions two or three
times a week, in case you are a beginner else you can omit this step.
Even if you feel great, try to hold yourself back for a few days
because it may take your body that time to respond to the new training
load. Develop short-term goals (ie. "I will walk for 20 minutes after
lunch every day this week") and reward yourself for accomplishing
If you want to firm up the upper body, try a pair of wrist weights
to really pump those arm muscles. Add another challenge to your walk
with walking poles. The pushing action works your arms, back,
shoulders, and can burn up to twenty percent more calories than just
Maintain good posture throughout: Walk tall. Look forward, (not at the
ground) gazing about 20 feet ahead. Your chin should be level and your
head up. Shoulders down, back and relaxed. Chest forward. Tighten your abs
and buttocks. Flatten your back and tilt your pelvis slightly forward.
Pretend you are walking along a straight line. 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.
Push off with your toes. Concentrate on striking with the heel,
rolling through the step and pushing off with your toes. Use the natural
spring of your calf muscles to propel you. Resist the urge to elongate
your steps. To go faster -- take smaller, faster steps. Pick up the
intensity of your
walking program by increasing the pace or distance of your regular walks.
Breathe naturally. As you walk, take deep, rhythmic breaths, to get
the maximum amount of oxygen through your system.
After dropping the children off at school, drive to a quite spot such as a
park on your route to work. Walk for seven minutes.
If possible, take a 15 minute walk at lunch time. You can add
strength training into the
walking program by climbing 3-4 flights of stairs to walk up (do them very
slowly) . Four flights of 15 steps at five inches per step means a 150
pound “weight lifter” has lifted 9,000 pounds! Stair walking works your
buttock muscles. After a few more weeks, take the elevator down then walk
back up. Great, you’ve just started
case you are in a job, leave office earlier than normal, or get
home later, thus making space for your 15 minute stroll. Unwind as those
work thoughts drift through your system.
You can add
intensity by walking hills instead of stairs. Don't take your
heartrate above 80
percent of your maximum until you've been exercising for 3 months though.
Find a 2-5 % incline and walk at your regular pace up the hill. Try
shorter steps at first. If you use a treadmill, simply raise the incline
gradually to about 6 %. Add another one percent every couple of weeks
until your form vanishes, then go back one percent to your natural comfort
zone. Do the middle third of your exercise session at this higher
Click here, to
determine your target heart rate. Remember to walk slightly slower
when you go up or downhill.
Once you are
comfortable walking at a quicker pace, it is time to add some light
running. Start your
workout with quick walk. Then pick out a tree or landmark on your course,
jog to it. Repeat
this several times, increasing the distance and including brief walking
periods in between the running.
with small, easily attainable goals, and work your way up gradually.
Drink plenty of fluids. Bring a water bottle
with you on your walk, and drink about 8-10 ounces of water for every 20
minutes of your routine to remain properly hydrated.
Last but not the least Keep a log of your time, distance walked, and
calories burned for