Walking - it's so easy. And so cheap.
You don't need any expensive equipment like golf clubs or raquets, you
don't require a membership of a club, and you don't need fancy clothes
like you do in tennis. all you require is a good pair of keds, and accesibility
to a park. So why are you sitting at your desk? Get out there and hit the
road! But first, read on to make sure you're walking right, so your efforts
are not in vain and you get the maximum benefit.
1. Pick up the pace. Don't just stroll
around the park as it doesn't really help. Of course, any kind of walking,
slow or fast, is better than nothing at all but if you want to see some
results in your health or weight, you will have to walk faster.
2. Walking faster doesn't mean taking
bigger strides. It's always better to take short, quick steps instead of
long strides. The next time you see a walkathon on television, observe
the way the competitors are walking. Their steps are short and quick. That's
the way to do it.
3. Try not to hunch or slouch. Your
posture matters, as the straighter you walk, the more oxygen is entering
your lungs, so remember what your mama said and - back straight! Pull your
stomach in, and push your pelvis very slightly out. Now that's catwalk
4. Ever watched a Jane Fonda video?
She keeps reciting one thing throughout. "Don't forget to breathe." That's
right. Breathing doesn't mean taking shallow breaths. Take a deep breath
- feel the oxygen fill up your lungs, and exhale. Now you're getting the
hang of it!
5. Instead of swinging your arms
back and forth, keep your elbows tucked in with your hands perpendicular
to your body and parallel to the floor. Bounce them slightly up and down,
and back and forth as you walk.
6. Don't push with your heels. Push
with your toes.
Should you walk
A lot of people do carry weights
in their hands while walking, but weights don't really help unless you
really swing your arms vigorously. So if you're carrying weights but not
really making the most of them, the result will only be that get tired
faster, and will walk less. In addition, you may experiece higher blood
pressure and joint pains. Thus, it's best to skip the weights, especially
if you've got a history of heart trouble. If you must work with weights,
do so after you've finished walking.
If maintaining your fitness level
or increasing it slightly is your goal, you don't need to go overboard
with your walking. About half an hour on a daily basis or approximately
5 times a week should suffice. Walk briskly, but not too fast. It is not
required. Walk at a pace where you are comfortable keeping up with conversation.
Are you walking to reduce? If a slimmer
you is your goal, you would need to speed up. Walk fast, and for a longer
time. Try and increase your duration by a few minutes everyday. If you
walk ten rounds, increase it by around ten steps everyday till you reach
eleven rounds, and then twelve and so on. Make sure you walk at least five
times a week.
Strengthen the heart
If you are looking at gaining aerobic
and cardiovascular benefits from walking, you'll have to increase your
pace drastically. Walk fast, with quick, short steps, and hands bent at
the elbows in front of your chest. As with every aerobic workout, do a
few stretches before starting to walk.
When should you
The morning is unquestionably the
best time to go for a walk. The earlier you can get out, the better. Try
and catch the sunrise. While one of the best parts about walking is that
it is an outdoor activity, the disadvantage is that this means you will
be inhaling a lot of pollution, especially if you are living in a country
like ours! You don't want to increase your fitness at the cost of your
lungs, do you? Avoid the pollution and carbon monoxide by stepping out
early, when pollution levels are at their lowest. If you are simply NOT
a morning person and must go in the evenings, then make it a point to walk
in a park or in a pollution free locality, far from the traffic. Steer
clear from roads.
Remember, the only investment you're
going to make in this activity is a pair of walking shoes, so they might
as well be good ones. Splurge, and get the best. Shoes specifically designed
for walking are not just marketing gimmiks - they really do help. And ten
years down the line your knees will thank you. Make sure they are flexible
by twisting them around before buying them, and the minute they get old
and frayed, get yourself a new pair.