Why is walking good
Walking is a great form of exercise not only because it gets you out in the fresh air
and allows you to be at one with nature but it also offers a number of health
- Burns calories so can
help you to maintain or even lose weight.
- Can reduce your risk
of coronary heart disease.
- Can help protect
joints by lubricating and strengthening the muscles around joints.
- May reduce the
development of colds and flu by boosting your immune system.
- Boosts your energy
- Can help to reduce
anxiety, depression and boost self-esteem.
- Can help to extend
- Tones your legs.
Walking is suitable for all ages and fitness levels and all you need is a pair of
sturdy walking shoes or trainers. To reap the health benefits of walking you need to walk for at least 30mins 3 days a week. Alternatively you can break the 30 mins up into three 10 mins walks, which means you can easily fit walking
into your daily routine by getting off the bus or train one step early and walk
the rest of the way, park further away from your office and walk to work or
walk to your local shops rather than take the bus or car.
A few ideas to turn your walking into a walking workout
Do you enjoy walking but think it’s not like exercise because it doesn’t feel like a real workout?
Extra exercises added into your normal walking regime will make it feel more challenging and more of a walking workout. Adding extra exercises doesn’t have to be scary. Here are a few ideas to turn walking into a
- Speedy intervals – walk as fast as you can for 1 min, using
your arms in a running motion, then recover by walking slowly for
30s. Repeat this 5 -10 times, depending on your fitness levels. As you get fitter you can increase the
number of times you do this or reduce the recovery time.
- Up the hill – if you are lucky enough (or unlucky
depending on how you see it!) to live in a hilly area, hill intervals are
a great addition to your walking regime. They will help increase your
cardiovascular health and leg strength. Walk as quickly as you can
up a hill, then walk slowly down to recover. Do this 5 -10 times.
- Find a bench – if your walking route is in a park with lots of benches
then every time you come to a bench do some stand ups and sit downs as
fast as you can. To do this sit on
the bench, hands on the bench, then push through your heels and legs to stand
up, then quickly sit down and repeat.
Do this 5-10 times as quickly as you can. If this feels easy try standing up and
sitting down without using your hands.
- Take the stairs – if your walking route has
stairs, walk as quickly as you can up the stairs and then slowly down again
to recover. Repeat this 5-10 times.
If you are a more intermediate or advanced level
exerciser, here are a few more exercise ideas to challenge your walking regime:
- Body weight ladder
circuit (suitable for advanced level) – walk at a brisk pace for 1 min,
then do 10 squats, walk briskly again for 1 min, do 10 walking lunges, then 10
squats again. Walk again for 1 min, do 5-10 press ups, 10 walking lunges,
followed by 10 squats. Walk again for 1
min, do 20 mountain climbers, 5-10 press ups, 10 walking lunges, 10
- Bench work (suitable
for intermediate to advanced level) – if your walking route is in a park with lots
of benches then every time you come to a bench do 10-15 bench squats, 10-15
tricep dips, 10-20 step ups, 10-15 sit ups with feet on bench.
- Brilliant Burpees
(suitable for advanced level) – Walk for 1 min, do 5 burpees, walk
again for 1 min, do 10 burpees, keep going until you get to your max number of
Things to remember:
Warm up – warm up before you start your workout – spend at
least 5-10 mins alternating between slow walking, swinging your arms, high knee
Cool down – make sure you stretch out your leg muscles after the workout
to reduce muscle soreness by bending over with straight legs and taking your
arms towards your feet, hold that stretch for about 20s – you should feel a
stretch in the back of your legs. Hold
onto a tree or a wall, bend one leg at the knee, take hold of your ankle behind
you and gently ease the heel towards your bottom, hold for about 20s – you
should feel a stretch in the front of your thighs.
Listen to your body – exercise shouldn’t be easy, but never exercise
through pain – pain is the body’s way of
telling you something isn’t right.
If you feel embarrassed or self conscious
doing these exercises on your own take a
friend with you or get in touch with me.
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