It’s free, it’s fun and it’s so easy to do. Here’s how to make the most of your walk fit and give your mind and body a lift.
Putting one foot in front of another — what could be more straightforward? Simple but effective, walking has been shown to be one of the best activities for your health using every part of your body, both skeletal and muscular, without putting undue strain on your joints.
Doctors say, it’s a great way to burn calories and improve your balance. It also boosts your heart, strengthens your bones and enhances your mood.
As we get older, we naturally lose muscle mass but walking is great for retaining muscle tone as well as maintaining a healthy weight.
It’s such a normal activity, which everyone can do, say power walking experts. With just a little application and technique, you can transform what you’re doing every day into something that actively supports your health and wellbeing.
The golden rules to walk fit
First, walk at a comfy pace. Everyone starts at a different level, so be sensible about your own body and its capabilities, but increasing your heart rate increases the health benefits. You can go the technical route and wear a heart rate monitor but a good measure is that you should sweat a bit, feel your heart rate rise, but should still be able to hold a conversation. Talk to your doctor before starting a walking programme if you have health concerns.
Secondly, don’t forget to stretch. Having a small collection of stretches and doing them every day will make a difference to your walking and your overall flexibility and health.
Thirdly, get the right shoes. You need some lightweight trainers with cushioning on the heel and ball of the foot and a flexible sole.
Lastly, get tested. Lots of specialist sports shops offer gait analysis. They’ll get you to walk on a machine to monitor your walking style and recommend a shoe that’s right for you. Try a trail specific training shoe.
When you’re out walking, it’s a great time to practise mindfulness and give your mind. as well as your body, a boost. Concentrate on your senses. Notice the changing seasons and colours of the trees, listen to the birdsong and feel the wind on your face.
Walking is a way of getting out and connecting with nature. Next time you’re out walking and it begins to rain, try this advice. Usually we habitually hunch our shoulders, speed up and focus on getting to a dry, warm place out of the ‘unpleasant rain’. In contrast, how might it be to accept it’s raining and experience it for what it is, straighten up, allow the raindrops to fall on us, feel the sensation of the coolness of the water on our skin and hear the sound of the raindrops?
We may find that this radically changes our experience and rather than resisting the situation, we accept, embrace and enjoy it.
5 Ways To Supercharge Your Walking
1. Pick up your pace: It’s the best way to enhance the benefits. Some doctors never advocate things like ankle weights or putting undue stress on any part of your body. A good power walking pace is a 15 minute mile.
2. Try walking poles: They help maintain posture (reducing strain on joints), give arms a workout too and inject power into your walk using them can burn up to 46% more calories.
3. Set a goal: There’s no better way of getting into regular walking. It gives you something to work towards.
4. Keep a log of your walks: To keep us going we need to acknowledge our successes along the way.
5. Do it with friends: Research shows we’re more likely to stick to physical activity if we avoid going it alone and making it more sociable is a proven boost for your mental health.
Walk fit this Way
Hit the ground heal to toe and use your glutes – your bottom muscles to drive you forward.
Breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth to make sure enough oxygen reaches your muscles.
Bend your arms at 90° and pump — they’ll help propel you along.
Lengthen your body from head to toe, keep your shoulders back, core engaged, chin parallel to the ground and tuck your bottom in.
E267 – Diabetic! Walk Yourself Fit – www.diabetic.today