Benefits of Fitness Walking
The fundamental health benefits of fitness walking are many. Metabolically, it helps control weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. A brisk walk can burn up to 100 calories per mile or 300 calories per hour.
Walking improves cardiovascular fitness. As an aerobic exercise, walking gets the heart rate beating faster to transport oxygen- rich blood from the lungs to the muscles. The heart and lungs work more efficient with a regular walking regimen, reducing blood pressure and the resting heart rate.
Walking is an important element of medical rehabilitation. A regular walking regimen facilitates recovery from many ailments, including heart attack. For people with poor circulation to the arms and legs, walking can increase the size and improve the efficiency of the tiny vessels that supply blood for cellular respiration.
Not only physically but also psychologically, fitness walking generates an overall feeling of well-being, and can relieve depression, anxiety, and stress by producing endorphins, the body’s natural “pick-me-up” drug.
Proper Fitness Walking Technique
To avoid injuries and to receive the most benefits from your workouts, proper form is essential.
Follow these 8 steps to walk to better health!
1. Stand tall with your shoulders back and down, and chest up.
2. Keep your head up with your chin parallel to the ground.
3. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted.
4. Squeeze your derriere tight while striding.
5. Strike your heel on the ground first, roll through the ball of the foot, and push off with the toes.
6. Swing arms at 90 degrees, pulling back with the elbows.
7. Allow your hips to rotate slightly.
8. Use rhythmic breathing from the diaphragm.
Proper Shoe Fitting
The ideal walking shoe should be stable from side to side, well cushioned, and it should enable you to walk smoothly. Many running shoes fit these criteria’s, however there are specialized shoes designed for walking. Most walking shoes tend to be less cushioned, not as bulky as a cross-trainer, and lighter than a running shoe.
Shoes should always fit well in the store. Do not cut corners on purchasing proper shoes. This is your sport. Do as much as you can to give your body the best equipment possible. Visit the shoe store late in the afternoon, when your feet are slightly swollen (this is when you’ll likely be walking anyway). Wear the same socks to the store that you will wear while walking. Try on at least four or five pairs of shoes. Put on and lace both shoes of each pair and walk around for a minute or two.
The key to avoiding injuries is a proper training regime. After every workout there is a minimum recovery time of 24 hours. .
Some common ailments that contribute to injuries are:
1. Improper footwear
2. Over training
3. Insufficient warm-up, and lack of a stretching program.
4. Muscular imbalances
5. Shin splints – caused by working muscles that only get worked through walking.
The Importance of Stretching
Stretching is another key to having a well-rounded workout program. Stretching prevents muscular injuries by increasing the flexibility of muscles, thereby preventing muscular stiffness. Also, by incorporating stretching into your fitness program, your range of motion in the muscles increases.
Till next time,