Walk This Way
Haute Fit with Damon Mackey-Fitness Consultant
“These shoes are made for walkin, and that’s just what they’ll do…One of these days these shoes will walk several pounds off you!”
My walking club members made up that song to chant as we walked our 2 miles during lunch. They soon forgot that walking was exercise.
Walking is one of the easiest and safest ways to exercise, and has become very popular within the last few years. Like other cardio exercises, walking helps reduce body fat, and helps to lower blood pressure, but puts no strain or pain in the lower extremities.
Research also shows that walking improves the capacity of the lungs, increases the heart’s efficiency, and is a great stress reducer.
Gone are the days with no time to workout. Walking can be done anytime and anywhere. During the winter months, if you don’t belong to a fitness center with an indoor track, shopping malls are now used for walking in the early morning hours before opening. Walking requires no tools or machines, just a good pair of walking shoes that provide support.
Walking is also a great way to start an exercise program. After a visit to your doctor and a seal of approval, make a firm commitment to walk at least 30 min per day. This will get you closer to your fitness level and have you feeling great in no time.
Living in such an automotive environment, like Michigan, can sometime make it a little challenging to get out and walk, but remember – walking uses no gas, just endurance.
Try parking your car further from the door to provide a little distance to the entrance. Try using the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk your dog a few miles if you have one. This could also turn into a high-impact workout if your dog pulls you along instead!
Once you get used to a certain level of walking, raise it up a notch. While on the treadmill, try walking at an incline. A hiking trail can also add a little challenge to your walking routine. You can also use music to spice your walking trip. Listen to your iPod, and walk to the beat. Light hand weights while walking can help shape and tone, and strengthen arm muscles.
To maximize your fitness level, always walk at a nice steady pace, keeping your shoulders back, head and chest up, and abdominal supported. This will allow oxygen to flow into the lungs. Let your arms swing naturally back and fourth and your hands loosely cupped. To get more out of your walking routine, increase your distance. Detroit has now incorporated great walking areas like the River Walk, and you can also find several walking clubs throughout Metro Detroit!
So, “Walk This Way”. It’s as simple as putting your best foot forward. Keep on walkin’!
Damon Mackey, Fitness and Lifestyle Consultant
Image courtesy of: http://leanbodypilates.blogspot.com; http://remediesforbellyfat.com/wp/walking-fitness-walking-programs-for-weight-loss; http://www.extendbar.com/blog/take-a-walk-to-live-longer/; http://www.health-actually.com/exercise/incline-walking-on-a-treadmill-for-an-awesome-calorie-burn/