Are you a racer or a stroller?
Hippocrates was onto something when he said, “Walking is a man’s best medicine.” The health benefits of adding regular, moderate exercise like walking to your daily routine include a lowered risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and high cholesterol. These health benefits are achievable whether you’re a novice walker who prefers a steady stroll, or a seasoned walker who prefers a fast pace.
Walking is something you’ve been doing since you learned how to take that first step as a baby, but hopefully your stride is a little different now. In order to make sure you’re getting the most out of a walk, check your posture. Think about elongating your body so that you’re at your full height. You also want to look forward, tighten your stomach, keep your shoulders down and let your arms swing naturally by your side. Feel the ground underneath your feet as you walk from heal to toe.
If you’re just beginning a walking routine, start out with a 10- to 15-minute walk every day for a week. Then, gradually increase your time by five-minute increments each week until you find the amount of time that’s good for you.
Fitness Walking Checklist
• Comfortable, loose fitting clothes: Check the weather before you head out to make sure you have enough layers. A fleece jacket you can take off and tie around your waist as you warm up is a nice piece in cooler weather.
• Good fitting shoes with ample toe room: Make sure your shoes are comfortable and choose socks with CoolMax material. Buy a new pair when you’ve walked 500 miles.
Calories burned fitness walking
For every 1 mile you walk, you burn approximately 70 calories
Unlike the high-impact sport of running, race walking, where the walker keeps one foot on the ground at all times, is considered a low-impact cardiovascular exercise. The lower impact movement of race walking helps prevent injury and will allow for faster muscle recovery while giving you the same benefits of running. This means more time on the pavement and less time recuperating.
Racewalking isn’t just fast walking. You need to follow some specific guidelines in order to be considered a “legal” race walker. First, you want to check your posture. Look forward (not at your feet) and stand tall. Then, swing your leg forward, making sure it’s straight—no bend at the knee. As your heel hits the ground, keep your toes pointed upwards at a 45-degree angle. Once your foot is on the ground, your body will follow. Still, keep your body straight and avoid leaning forward. It’s also important to make sure your leg stays straight. Once your head is in line with your body, you may bend your knee, but try to keep it straight until your other heel is in front of you. Keeping your leg straight until the next foot is in front will give you more power to propel forward. Your shoulders should be down and relaxed, and your arms should swing with elbows bent at an 85-degree angle. It’s important that you start walking slowly so you can get the stride down (3 to 4 miles per hour is the average beginner’s speed). Once you can comfortably and “legally” racewalk, gradually begin to increase the speed and distance, and sign up for a 5K.
In order to stay motivated with your walking routine, listen to your favorite music, or enlist a walking buddy. Fresh air, good conversation, and exercise will leave both of you happy and healthy.
• T-shirt and workout shorts or a sweat suit: It’s best to avoid cotton and choose materials that offer optimal breathability and moisture transfer
• Good fitting, flexible walking shoes: Again, choose socks with CoolMax, make sure your shoes fit perfectly and change them out after 500 miles.
• Digital watch with timer: A heart rate monitor, which will also keep track of calories burned, is optional, but a good watch with a timer is necessary to keep track of your pace.
• Pedometer: This is a good tool to help you keep track of your distance.
Calories burned racewalking
For every 1 mile you walk, you burn approximately 95 calories