Sunday, September 5, 2010

Walk Your Way Fit

Walking is the ultimate bargain exercise, proving you don't need fancy equipment or pricey gyms to get fit.  But you do need to mix it up a little.  According to Karen Asp in an article in the July 2010 issue of Better Homes and Garden, below are three different walks to keep your family's heart healthy, your waistline trim and your stress levels down.
1. Endurance Walk. A moderately paced walk you can do for as long or as short a time as you want.  Endurance training builds a healthier body, and it's something almost everybody can do, even the kids.  It can relieve stress and boost mood in as little as 10 minutes and also reduces risk factors for chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. You can endurance walk daily if you want.  Start with a five minute warm-up of easy walking.  Then pick up the pace until you breathing becomes a little quicker.  You should be able to talk, but you're definitely working a little harder. In the end, cool down with five minutes of easy walking.
2. Interval Training Walk. A more challenging walk that alternates between hard and easy periods of work.  If time is your biggest enemy, interval training is perfect for you.  In a study at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, women who id interval training improved overall health and their body's fat-burning potential in as little as two weeks. Not only do you burn calories during the workout, you also burn more just doing everyday things after an interval training walk.  This is for walkers who want to get in shape in less time or bust a plateau.  You should do two or three weeks of endurance first.  Interval training should be done once or twice a week on nonconsecutive days.  Warm up an easy five minute walk.  Then alternate between one to four minutes of moderate-pace walking and one to four minutes of brisk or fast walking, repeating this pattern tow to five times during your walk.  During the brisk/fast walking sections it should be as if you're working hard, and talking becomes more difficult.
3. Speed Walking. A faster-paced walk than endurance walking.  If your short on time, this is another walk you can do in a snap.  Granted, it may feel somewhat uncomfortable, but doing this type of workout can make you a stronger, fitter walker.  This is for serious walkers who want to get fitter without devoting lots of time to exercise.  It should be done once or twice a week.  Start with a five minute warm-up.  Then pick up the pace so you're walking a little faster than you normally would yet not pushing it so hard that you can't maintain that pace.  Continue at that pace for 10 to 20 minutes. (If this is too difficult at first, go fast for five minutes, then slow to a moderate pace for five minutes; gradually build to walking fast the entire walk.) Then cool down with an easy walk.


Neil Killion September 6, 2010 at 3:20 PM  

I totally agree Deborah. Walking is a habit that should we instilled early. In this automated, mechanised world, we forget that our bodies need regular daily exercise.

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