Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tips for an Amazing Walking Workout

Tips for an AMAZING Walking Workout
Exercise for most people seems like a daunting proposition. We might go into a workout schedule with the best of intentions and after a few short days or weeks we find ourselves coming up with excuses or reasons why we cant go on. My suggestion is to change your attitude about what working out means. Even something as simple as going for a nice stroll in the park can be a very effective form of exercise when done correctly. It also can give your body and mind the break it needs from the stresses of life and a challenging workout regimen while still staying on the path to get fitness.
We have all heard the benefits of exercise not only on the body for optimal health, but even just 20-30 minutes a day can decrease stress and have enormous positive mental health benefits! What I love about walking is that it is low impact, not mentally or physically challenging, and you can do it just about anywhere (although I would suggest going out into nature whenever possible.) Exercise can be the best part of the day for yourself where you get to think, not think, relax, de-stress, pamper, love, and connect with your true self.
Here are some tips for an effective but enjoyable walking workout……..
Posture for POWER
· Neck and Head: Your head and neck should be relaxed and comfortable right over your shoulders, chin in, slightly in front of the rest of your body, eye gaze the ground 15 feet ahead.
· Upper back: As one leg comes forward, your opposite arm goes forward. This is a natural rotation that occurs in your back. Do not hold your body too stiff or you will prevent this rotation.
· Abs: Your abs should be slightly contracted, think about holding your muscles up and in. You know you’re contracting too hard if it interrupts the flow of your breath.
· Glutes and Hamstrings: Use your glutes to propel your forward. Also think of your hamstrings and calf muscles your secondary motor helping you push forward.
· Knees: As your Heels strike the ground, your front knee should have a slight bend to provide cushion and agility. NEVER lock your knees.
· Ankles: Your ankles will naturally roll in and out a little as you walk- the key is to make sure they are not rolling in or out too much.
· Feet: Distribute weight evenly over the whole foot to put the least amount of stress on your ankle, knee and hip joints. When your foot strikes the ground, lead with the heal first; then roll your weight through the middle of your foot, up to the ball region.
10 Tips for Treading
1. Try something new every day: whether it is a new path, a new speed, a new mantra or focus, or bringing a friend or some favorite tunes on your journey. Variety is key for any change to happen and to keep things fun and interesting.
2. Track your heart rate: Wearing a heart monitor is like having a miniature personal trainer. It will let you know when you need to work harder or ease up. Find your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. The goal is to work between 60-80% of that number for an effective workout.
3. Add some intervals: Increase your speed for brief burst during the walk and that will double your calorie burn. Alternate between 3 minutes of walking at a steady pave to one minute at a speed walk or light jog.
4. Use your breath: Finding power in your breath and learning to control and focus on it can not only be a helpful tool to power though your workout but also can help you have a walking meditation which is amazingly beneficial for your soul.
5. Incorporate a circuit: Carrying a light weight or resistance band and doing a simple exercise (like bicep curls or overhead press) every 10 minutes will give you a full body workout and will equal big results.
6. Head for the hills: Roads with long, gradual inclines are great to give you a new found intensity to your program. Rolling hills are ideal for intervals if you push your pace on the uphill and use the downhill for recovery.
7. Create an image in your mind: Seeing yourself as you would like to be while working out will make faster change. Visualization techniques work as a mind body connection that switch the focus of not believing in yourself to what you do what and do believe can happen.
8. These shoes are made for walkin’: Find the perfect shoes. What type of exercise do you want to do? There are shoes for every type of exercise; running, walking, cross-training, hiking….what ever you pick make use it is the right shoe for the job. (fit and size is also very important)
9. Set your intention: Having goals and being clear on them will help you stay motivated for the long haul. If it is to run a 5k or to lose 10 pounds, if you have a goal and set your intention before you start each workout you will not give up until you get there.
10. Stretch yourself: Spending some time after your workout to cool down the muscles and doing a few stretches is beneficial on many levels. It helps flush lactic acid out which means less muscle soreness. It also helps develop long lean muscles (think dancer body.) Last of all, it gives you a chance to reflect on what you accomplished, which is an important step in staying motivated and positive about your fitness and life in general.