|Posted on April 21, 2012 at 9:05 PM|
An exercise as simple as walking also needs proper warm up. If you're just walking from the living room to your bedroom, you won't need warm up. But walking around blocks or race tracks for 30 minutes or an hour needs warm up. A good warm up is stretching. I often start and end my walks with stretching. It adds a lot when you walk your way to a slimmer fit. A word of caution with stretching: Never do it rapidly, especially when it involves the spinal cord. Stretch slowly and hold it for a few seconds, then ease gradually. Breathe in as you stretch, then exhale as you release. Make it a meditation. Focus. Stretch with God; talk with him as you workout.
Then I walk around, jog in place, and then start to walk, leisurely at first. Gradually I gain speed until I'm brisk walking all throughout the workout. That's walking correctly.
It's very important to remain relaxed and calm while walking. Your mindset should be to enjoy your walk. Don't think of it as a task or mission or goal to break a record. It's not an obligation. Times when you don't feel like walking--then don't. But make sure it's not just laziness. Walk at least 3 to 4 times a week. Better if daily. But do it relaxed. It's like watching TV. Just sit back, relax and watch.
1. Relax your mind. Enjoy your surroundings. Look at flowers or plants or butterflies around you. I do that. Or, focus on your overall body rhythm and cadence. Or, appreciate how your breathing deepens, quickens, with a rhythmic pace with your steps. Appreciate the morning freshness.
2. Relax your breathing. Don't be afraid to breath deeply. Your breathing will be a bit rapid once you gain speed. If it's already too much for you, slow down till your breathing catches up, and then slowly gain speed again. Don't force yourself to go on with a fast pace if you feel your breathing cannot cope up anymore. Build strength gradually. Don't punish yourself; you're not competing in the Olympics. But do challenge yourself often.
3. Relax your shoulders. This is vital in walking correctly. Don't raise your shoulders or drop them too low. Just relax them as you walk. A good tip here is to jut out your butt a bit, with your chest out and stomach in--maintaining good posture. But make sure no part of your body is tensed. Don't lean forward or backward. Maintain your center of gravity (we will discuss this later).
4. Relax your ankles. Make sure your foot drops to the ground gently, heel first, and let your weight roll gently across your foot as you raise the other foot for another step. This reduces shock at the ankles. The less shock the less stress in the body and head. If you stamp your foot to much or too heavily, it produces shock and tension on your ankles, body and head. This may trigger head and body aches later. One way to relax the ankles is to gently gallop a bit in rhythm when walking.
Keep Back Straight
It's important to keep your back straight while walking. This keeps you from getting tired too quickly. A body in balance or equilibrium does not get tired at once because the gravity pull against the body is even. And walking with a straight back helps a lot in this. So does it help relax your body. A tip here is to always imagine a straight line or rod behind your back to always align it with.
Swing the Shoulders
Swing the shoulders a bit as you keep them relaxed, and your back straight. Your shoulders should alternate the moves of your legs. If the right leg is forward, swing your left shoulder forward a bit. The swinging action exercises the trunk and squeezes the sides of the stomach. That's added squeezing off fats. It also helps normalize your walk. Walkathon athletes sometimes over stress shoulders and arms swinging to propel themselves forward. It's like the mechanics in swimming or rowing a boat. This is good if you want fast paces or brisk walks.
Center of Gravity
Keep the body balanced and the weight well distributed. When you make a step, one leg supports the whole weight for a moment. Make sure your weight is centered on that one leg. Don't tilt or lean in any direction. When you land the other foot your body weight should be evenly distributed to both legs. Then, as you raise the other leg to take another step, your weight should again center on the one leg touching ground. And so on.
Well, to simplify, always relax your shoulders, keep back straight, and evenly distribute your weight. This places your center of gravity in the middle, and gravity pull won't have to give you extra work. Uneven gravity pull often results to body aches.
In the morning (5 to 7 am), make sure to enjoy sunlight as you walk your way to a simmer fit. Don't "hide" from it as do most walkers and joggers. But do hide from it during late hours of the morning and early hours of the afternoon. Better yet, DON'T walk under the sun in those hours. You may do so if you're inside an air conditioned mall in summer, or a building with a heater in winter.
As you walk and thirst, NEVER deprive yourself of clean, tap water. But drink just enough. Don't over drink. Don't drink cold water. Bring a bottle of water along to keep yourself hydrated. Before and after your walk, drink water.
After your walk slim workout, walk around slowly to cool down. Don't sit down immediately. Let your heart pulse and blood pressure normalize gradually, especially after a brisk walk or walkathon. Warm up and cool down are important.
Rest and Relax
After your cool down, rest and relax. Drink fresh fruit juice. If your walk slim workout is to be followed with a meal, don't be in a hurry to eat. Enjoy your food.