WALKING FOR FITNESS

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Walking in Wicklow, Ireland

It’s no surprise that walking is the most common physical exercise in Ireland, it’s something we do everyday and you will see many claims about how good it is for losing weight, however that depends on the intensity, duration and your current fitness level.
But have you ever considered you could increase the amount of calories burned by just changing the way that you walk? Now before you panic I do not mean changing you into your visual of a “speed walker”, who do tend to look like they are in dire need of finding a toilet.

I am referring to slight changes in your style of walking, your posture and focusing on a few other things.

ADVANTAGES:
The calorie burn is higher
Your strength will increase as muscles are being challenged
Joints are still not put under any heavy shocks
Better for cardiovascular health
Promotes healthy bones
Boosts mood

STARTING OFF
Try to walk just over 7kph though it may take you a while to reach that level depending on your current fitness level, there is no one size fits all, so use that as a rough guide for a good speed. Also be aware that the terrain will affect your performance a lot, hills will require a greater effort, but don’t view them as obstacles, view them as fat burners. The heavier you are the more calories you will burn as you are moving a greater weight against gravity. Try to walk for at least 30 mins.

TECHNIQUE
Tighten your core and abs and hold your pelvis secure under the torso
Hold your shoulders back and head high, chin up.
Arms bent at 90 degrees and swing them with force, push those elbows back with each swing.
Spring yourself upwards with each step, to increase muscles engaged
Hold your glutes tight (your bum)

TIPS
Slowly work up to a fast pace over 5-10 mins, allow yourself to warm up
Use good quality walking shoes or runners with a flat sole
Change your route, add in hills and uneven terrain to target more muscles
Alter your stride from time to time, long steps or short they both place different requirements on your muscles
Aim for at least 30 mins for every walk for general health
If weight loss is your goal try and do this every day and include more hills, and do at least 45 mins

MOTIVATION
As with all exercises sometimes the hardest part of all is getting off the sofa, so try and find a few friends who live locally who can join you. Or you could join a walking or hiking group, there are often many such groups on meetup.com so have a search around, having a time and place set will mean you are much more likely to do it. Also changing your route often will help you feel inspired, you won’t become bored of the surroundings.