Walking is so easily accessible to all of us. that we never stop to imagine it can have so many benefits.
Usually done without the help or support of an expert, this form of exercise can actually help you lose those extra kilos or keep you at your optimum weight. Avoid turning it into a social exercise though, rather than one that is concentrated on the cardiovascular activity you set out for it to be!
A study by the London School of Economics reported that people who walked briskly for over 30 minutes a day had lower EMS and smaller waists than even those who did other forms of exercise. This was especially true for women and people over 50 years old.
But you do need to take up the intensity. The higher the intensity, the more agile you will be: basically, get more step out of every minute. With increased intensity, the joints, muscles, heart and lungs work more efficiently too. However, chances of injury rise as you step it up. Follow these guidelines for a healthy walking experience.
Also, do remember never to overexercise a tired or injured muscle or joint. Rest and recovery is the best way to deal with extreme fatigue and injury. For most people, 10 minutes to a kilometer is a good speed guideline, though depending on age and health, there’s nothing to stop you from bettering performance, as you get stronger. Just don’t rush things-try and up intensity gradually. Walk on a surface that is smooth-like a designated walking path-so you lower the risk of falling.
Take short steps To avoid musculoskeletal stress, don’t increase intensity by over striding and taking long steps. Instead, pick up the pace, by keeping the stride short and quick.
Be conscious of the arms
The arms should bend at the elbow and swing forward and back to enable an increase in intensity. Right arm, left leg forward and vice versa. For this reason, avoid carrying purses and mobile phones that may create an imbalance.
Start and end slow
Space out your walking session. If you’re walking for 60 minutes, then use the first 10 as a warm-up and the last 10 as a cool-down.
The higher the intensity, the more agile you will be: basically, get more step out of every minute
Build pace Gradually increase speed and feel the body break into a sweat. You must be slightly out of breath, but not so much that you can’t speak. Feel your heart rate rise. Stay in this state for 20-40 minutes (depending on your age and medical status). You can increase this every 10 days or so by 5 minutes.
If you’re walking with a partner, make sure you are both at the same fitness level, so one of you isn’t trying to keep up with the other.
Finish with stretches
Finish the session with stretching the lower body muscles, like the thighs, calves, and lower back. Flexibility reduces with advancing years, but regular stretching will help you maintain the range of movement around a joint and the length of the muscles.
Walking can keep you at your Optimum weight without the help of an expert.