Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Walkers

It's beginning to become spring weather in America, finally, and with the weather change a lot of people start thinking about getting in better shape. Being a beginner is the hardest and most rewarding time for an adult athlete. When your starting out you actually start feeling better and improving every day. When your an old seasoned war horse like me improvement comes only through hard regular training.

It takes your body about 15 to 30 minutes to warm up. Your gauge that your body is warmed up is when you begin to sweat. This is important to remember for a lot of reasons. First of all what happens when you warm up is that blood is channeled away from places like your digestive system to your muscles that are doing work. That is the time when you actually begin to train your body. These programs that tell you to walk 3 times a week for 20 min are missing the boat. You need to walk easy for 15 to 30 min until you begin to sweat and then walk for 20 to 30 min with your body warm and efficient.

Having said that any walking is better than staying on the couch and if you're in very bad shape then perhaps you can only walk to warm up yet. So let that be your first goal, walk to warm up 3 times a week. Work up to walking for an hour 4 to 5 times a week. Just like lifting weights when you can walk easy for 10 min, then the next time try to walk for 11 min and so on. Like weight lifting you have to regularly increase the weight, (distance) or (speed) to get improvement.

Walking is a complete sport, it differs from running in lots of ways; To start with when you run you do it by lifting your knees and landing on your feet. Your basically pounding your feet into the ground to get your forward motion. I was a runner for 30 years so I'm not anti running, just pointing out a fact. Preparing for a long event like a marathon is much easier for a walker than it is for a runner because your body recovers from training much quicker. Walking uses more muscle groups than running. When you walk the stride should start from your hips and butt and continue down your legs. Your arms and shoulders are worked with your arm swing which should be mostly to the back. Along with gentle stretching after you exercise, walking will work all your muscle groups.

In my next blog I'll talk about finding the right shoes and attire for walking. YES it makes a huge difference. Your shoes and sock combination will make or break your walking future.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

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