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  #1   ^
Old Mon, Jun-18-01, 07:32
fern2340's Avatar
fern2340 fern2340 is offline
Posts: 8,394
Plan: My Own Plan
Stats: 000/000/000 Female 6 ft 2 in
Progress: 52%
Location: NJ
Thumbs up Boost Your Walking Workout

Boost Your Walking Workout
by Carol Krucoff

When Walking magazine debuted in 1986, comedian George Carlin seemed incredulous that anyone would buy a periodical about something as basic as putting one foot in front of the other.

"What's next?" he scoffed on the Tonight Show. "A magazine about ...breathing?"

Such skepticism, however, did little to dampen the growth of fitness walking, which now ranks as the most popular physical activity in the nation. In 1997, 14.5 million Americans counted themselves as regular walkers, according to American Sports Data Inc., a Hartsdale, N.Y. sports and fitness research firm.

Walking is our favorite exercise for five reasons, says Walking magazine's editor-at-large Mark Fenton: It's easy, effective, enjoyable, economical and empowering.

Stepping Lively
"We get loads of letters from people who say, 'Walking changed my life,'" Fenton says. "Often they'll say that,when they started out, they could barely walk for 10 minutes, and now they walk in 10K races. Mostly, they tell us how walking's helped them feel better and look better."

Beginners can start with a 10-minute walk, then add a few more minutes each week. How far and how fast to go depends on your goals. To boost your health and reduce your risk of numerous chronic diseases, walking 30 minutes a day, six or seven days a week at a "brisk" pace is sufficient.(Accumulating several shorter bouts of activity--such as three, 10-minute walks per day--can have similar benefits.)

If your goal is optimum cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends walking continuously for 30 to 60 minutes, four to six times a week--or 30 minutes every day--at a pace you consider "somewhat hard" to "hard".

To enhance your walking workout, Fenton offers this advice:

1. Walk Tall. Americans have notoriously poor posture, with rounded shoulders and swaybacks. Counter these bad habits by gently contracting your stomach muscles to flatten your lower back. Don't slouch or hunch your shoulders. Instead, think about elongating your spine, and be sure to look forward, not down in the gutter.

2. Take quicker, not longer, steps. To pick up your pace, step more quickly and let your stride length come naturally. If you take 130 steps per minute, you'll be walking at a pace of about four miles per hour pace, which will give your cardiorespiratory system a great workout.

3. Bend your arms. For a speed boost, bend your elbows to 90 degrees and let your hands swing in an arc from your waistband to chest height.

4. Push off with your toes. Land on your heel, roll your foot from heel to toe, then push off forcefully with your toes.

5. Take to the hills. For a more strenuous workout, forget about hand or ankle weights, which may lead to injury. Instead, walk some hills. Even a moderate grade can significantly boost your energy expenditure.

While walking is one of the safest exercises, injuries can happen. The main reasons people get hurt are doing too much too soon, and wearing improper shoes. Always start slowly and progress gradually, and choose a shoe designed for walking.

Avoid the common mistake of shopping for shoes at the end of the day when your foot is at its largest, recommends Rebecca Snow, biomechanist at the Rockport Co., a Massachusetts shoe manufacturer.You'll end up with shoes that are too small.

"Bring along the socks you'll wear," she says. "And be sure there's a thumb's-width distance between the end of your toe and the shoe." Pick one that fits snugly at the heel but allows "wiggle room" in the toes.

Also, take time to stretch. "Muscles that get stronger will also get tighter unless you stretch them out," says Snow, who advises spending three to five minutes stretching after a walk.

And don't expect to see results overnight. "Commit to six weeks," she says. "During that time just enjoy your walk, pay attention to nature and what's going on outside." After six weeks of regular walking, she says, you should notice changes inside, both in how you look and how you feel.
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  #2   ^
Old Mon, Jun-18-01, 09:05
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r.mines r.mines is offline
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Posts: 1,383
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 162/124/120 Female 5'1"
Progress: 90%
Location: Vancouver,BC
Default Thanks, Fern!

I feel healthier just reading this!

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  #3   ^
Old Mon, Jun-18-01, 09:09
fern2340's Avatar
fern2340 fern2340 is offline
Posts: 8,394
Plan: My Own Plan
Stats: 000/000/000 Female 6 ft 2 in
Progress: 52%
Location: NJ

You're welcome Rachel!
I like to do the elliptical machine and the bike as opposed to walking most of the time but I thought the article was pretty good! Especially, #1..... I know my posture could use some help. I think sometimes because I am so tall (6'2"), I naturally kind of slump over to make myself seem shorter. I have gotten better with this but this article reminded me!! sometimes I need a lil' kick in the butt!!!
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  #4   ^
Old Mon, Jun-18-01, 10:56
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Elizabeth Elizabeth is offline
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Posts: 29
Stats: 195/191/140
Location: British Columbia
Default pedometer stats?

I am new to low carbing, actually restarting after a dismal failure in the spring, but am back determined to succeed. I want to start taking walks this week, and have even bought myself a pedometer to try and keep track of how far I go, time, calories etc. Is anyone else using one and finding it useful?
Someone else also suggested that I not take my dogs with me, as they will slow me down with their constant stopping for a sniff, etc. Is a constant pace for 30 minutes required, or can I do the stop and start thing with the dogs? It seems a shame to leave them behind when they love going out so much!
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  #5   ^
Old Wed, Jun-20-01, 11:30
Trainerdan's Avatar
Trainerdan Trainerdan is offline
Posts: 2,518
Plan: Zone
Stats: 255/242/230 Male 75 inches (6'3")
Progress: 52%
Location: Philly
Default well ...

Well, I was gonna start a new thread this morning about starting a walking program, but much of what Fern posted covers it (you beat me to the punch, kid!)

As for pace, a consistent pace is necessary to keep the heart rate elevated to get the benefits of the cardiovascular workout.

You know what? I am gonna post it anyway ... LOL ... It's long, but good ....


Walking can help you reach any fitness goal: a healthier life, better muscle tone, easier weight control, improved aerobic fitness, and even preparation for competition. Fitness increases as the result of working the major muscles groups, increasing circulation, increasing oxygen intake and lung capacity, and burning excess calories.

To begin a walking program, start slowly. There's no overnight magic to fitness. You have a lifetime to work on good health and fitness.

Start your program by walking SLIGHTLY ABOVE a comfortable pace; forget about times, distance, and technique. Walk at a purposeful but comfortable pace. You should be able to carry on a conversation, but if you're able to sing you're walking at too slow a pace. If possible, walk for 15 to 30 minutes, but don't overdo it.

After several weeks of participating in a walking program, you may feel you are ready to meet the requirements of the overload principle of exercise training (FIT--frequency, intensity, time). If so, use the following steps:

* Set your frequency. The goal is to walk seven days a week within your THR (target heart rate), but walking three to five will improve overall fitness.

* Measure your intensity. Aim for the lower end (60 percent) of your target heart range (THR) and gradually increase to the higher end (85 percent) of THR.

* Plan your amount of time.

-> To develop long-term health, walk 30 minutes per day.

-> For weight loss or longevity, walk 45 to 60 minutes per day;
do one or two longer walks at a slower pace for greater
calorie burning, and take an occasional easy day.

-> Performance-level fitness requires a walk of 20 to 60 minutes at a fast pace, three to five days per week, with easier walks interspersed. Occasionally, try alternating fast and slow intervals.

For more information on THR, check out the Heart Disease Center at

Stretching is a good idea at whatever level you're walking. Walk for five to ten minutes to warm the muscles before you begin stretching exercises. Here are some suggestions:

* Achilles tendon and calf: With both hands against a wall or tree, place one foot well behind you. Keeping the back leg straight and its heel on the ground, lean in toward the wall or tree.

* Quadriceps: Place one hand on a wall or tree for balance and with the other hand reach behind your back and grasp the ankle of the opposite leg. Pull it up toward your buttocks until you feel tension along the front of your thigh.

* Hamstring: Stand on one leg; prop the other leg parallel to the
ground on a fence or table. Slide both hands toward the propped-up ankle as far as they'll go.

Do not bounce when stretching. Stretch five times, 20 seconds each, for each leg. Repeat after you've finished walking.

You do not have to walk any particular way; however, the correct
posture, arm swing, and stride help to increase the intensity and
lower risk of injury.

For correct posture, lean slightly forward from the ankles, not the waist. Walk tall and don't slouch or hunch your shoulders. Keep your head level and your chin up. Hold your elbows firmly at a 90-degree angle and swing your arms from the shoulder.
Your hand should end its forward swing at breastbone height.

On the backswing, if you are moving fast, the upper arm is almost parallel to the ground.

Also, gently contract your stomach muscles to flatten your lower
back. Make your leg stride long and smooth. Land on your heel and roll from heel to toe, pushing off forcefully with your toes.
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  #6   ^
Old Wed, Jun-20-01, 11:40
fern2340's Avatar
fern2340 fern2340 is offline
Posts: 8,394
Plan: My Own Plan
Stats: 000/000/000 Female 6 ft 2 in
Progress: 52%
Location: NJ

Good post Dan!
I think our posts compliment each other very nicely!! AWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!! (hehehehe--- sickening isn't it!)
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