Walk Into Good Health
Walk into Good Health
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), walking is one of the most accessible exercise forms. Making time for brief walking breaks throughout a day can provide numerous health benefits. In addition to learning about the benefits of walking, throughout the Greene Walks program, you will be given multiple tips like how to walk with proper form, how to walk uphill, what are the best walking sneakers, and more! All the information below comes from ACE’s Walking Toolkit called “WALK the TALK!”
ACE presents the “7 Benefits of Walking”
- Energy Level Boost
- Energy Expenditure
- Improves Strength and Function of the Heart
- Improves Oxygen Flow Through the Body
- Reduces Effects of Sitting
- Enhances Problem Solving Skills
ACE’s Walking Fun Facts
- Dog owners walk significantly more than their non-pooch owning counterparts.
- Walking can boost creativity by 60 percent.
- People who track their steps take an average of 2.500 more steps each day.
- Taking less than 5,000 steps each day is considered sedentary.
- Walking uphill activates three times more muscle fibers than walking on flat terrain. It also burns up to 60% more calories.
- Walking is the most popular form of exercise in the US.
ACE’s 9 Tips on How to Perfect Your Walking Form
- Tip #1: Stand up tall.
- Tip #2: Keep your eyes on the horizon.
- Tip #3: Lift your chest and tighten your abs.
- Tip #4: Bend your arms.
- Tip #5: Relax your shoulders.
- Tip #6: Maintain a neutral pelvis.
- Tip #7: Keep your front leg straight but not locked.
- Tip #8: Aim your knees and toes forward.
- Tip #9: Land on your heel.
Step Up Your Walking Routine
If you are a regular walker, you may be looking for ways to pump up your walking workouts. Whether your goal is to get past a weight-loss plateau, boost your energy, or take your fitness to a new level, here are 10 ways to step up walking routine.
GRADE IT – One way to increase the intensity of your walk is to add an incline. If you’re on a treadmill, it’s easy to increase the “grade” or incline by 5, 10, or some treadmills offer even a 15 percent grade increase. If you’re outdoors, look for the hills in the neighborhood. Even a steep driveway can provide a change in intensity.
TAKE IT OUTDOORS – Not only can the change of scenery help beat boredom, ground surface and slight modifications in grade while walking outdoors can offer a bit more of a challenge to the body than the consistent surface of a treadmill.
To help offset the difference when you’re inside, walk with at least a one percent grade or incline on the treadmill to match the intensity.
TEMPO CHANGE – Picking up your walk pace can help burn more calories and make your walk more effective. Try walking with at least three different speeds. Walk slowly, then moderately, and then briskly for two-minute intervals. You’ll find that your breathing rate changes and your calorie burn will go up.
THREE WAYS TO SIDEWAYS – Walking is usually done facing forward, but changing the direction to a side step, side shuffle, or side cross over grapevine step can help sculpt your inner and outer thighs, improve balance and enhance coordination. Try a sidestep or shuffle for 10-to 15 steps, and then switch to grapevine.
Make sure to perform with both sides leading the moves for balanced form.
BACK IT UP – You may need to start this on a treadmill while holding lightly onto the handrails before you take it outside on an uneven surface but walking backwards completely changes up the muscles utilized in walking. Be sure to know where you’re going and start at a slower pace than walking forward. This could be best to leave for the end of your walk to provide a bit of a cool-down before stretching.
SKIP IT – Don’t skip the walk itself, but add a hop, skip, or a jump to your walking routine. Set a one-minute timer and then perform 10 hops, 10 skips, and 10 two –feet jumps. This helps to increase the intensity of the workout and build single-leg strength-plus; it’s fun!
MONSTER-SIZE IT – Change up your walk’s stride length by adding lunges or large walking steps between intervals. Think 30 seconds of an easy walk and then 30 seconds of monster-size steps.
This can significantly bump up the calorie burn of your regular walk.
WEIGHT IT – Weighted vests can be worn to bump up the intensity of your regular walk. To ensure comfort and safety, opt to wear a vest that is no more than 5 – to 10 percent of your body weight.
PHONE A FRIEND – Ask someone to go with you on your walk. It can make the time pass quickly or even motivate you to walk a little longer. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to connect with those you love while improving your fitness. Dogs also make for great walking partners, so don’t leave his tail wagging at home.
WATER WALKING – Walking in shallow water at the beach (weather permitting) or indoors in the pool can add a new challenge to your walking routine, as the resistance of the water makes your movements more challenging, even as the impact on your joints is lessened.