Walking Cardio

Walking is one of the easiest, most convenient and healthiest activities available if your goal is to attain aerobic fitness. You don’t need any special equipment or playing surface and there is a very low rate of injury. However, like any new activity, there are a few things you should know before starting.

Getting Started

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Shoes and Clothing:
Walking doesn’t create the same impact as running. As a result you don’t need shoes with a thick, shock-absorbing sole. Go for a light, flexible shoe. On cool days dress so that you feel just a little on the chilly side at the beginning of your walk. Once you get moving you’ll warm up to a comfortable temperature. On cold days several layers of lightweight garments are much better than one heavy sweat suit.

When your windbreaker or light jacket is no longer needed, you can just take it off and tie it around your waist. In warm weather wear the lightest clothing possible and lots of sunblock. A hat and sunglasses are a must on all sunny days, even when the temperature drops, and always carry water. Water bottle carrying pouches worn around the waist are a convenient way to always have water available.

Warm-up:
Start by walking at an easy pace for five to ten minutes.

Cool Down:
Finish your workout with five to ten minutes of walking at an easy pace. Do stretches especially for your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and back. However, you can also incorporate stretches from the Cool Down Section.

Technique

Posture:
Use your walk as an opportunity to practice excellent posture. Keep your chest and chin up and your shoulders back. Stand tall and pull your abdominal muscles up and in.

Technique:
Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Your shoulders should be relaxed as the arms swing in sync with your legs. Avoid swinging the arms from side to side. They should point straight ahead and stay close to the body. Take short quick steps. Push off from your heel, roll along the outside of the foot, and then push through the big toe.

Intensity:
To increase the intensity of your workout, pump your arms with more vigor and focus on pushing off the toes with more force. Try adding hills to your outdoor walking routes for more of a challenge.

Don’t add weights:
Carrying light hand weights will burn additional calories but only about 10% more. Carrying weights can also cause you to tire sooner and increases the risk of injury to your elbows and shoulders. If you do want to increase the intensity, wear wrist weights. Ankle weights are never a good idea. The weights can distort your walking form and throw you off balance. Then you’ll certainly tire sooner

12 Week Program

Posture: Use your walk as an opportunity to practice excellent posture. Keep your chest and chin up and your shoulders back. Stand tall and pull your abdominal muscles up and in.

Technique: Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Your shoulders should be relaxed as the arms swing in sync with your legs. Avoid swinging the arms from side to side. They should point straight ahead and stay close to the body. Take short quick steps. Push off from your heel, roll along the outside of the foot, and then push through the big toe.

Intensity: To increase the intensity of your workout, pump your arms with more vigor and focus on pushing off the toes with more force. Try adding hills to your outdoor walking routes for more of a challenge.

Warm Up Walk within THR* Cool Down Total Time
Week1
(repeat 3 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
5 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
15 minutes
Week2
(repeat 3 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
7 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
17 minutes
Week3
(repeat 3 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
9 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
19 minutes
Week4
(repeat 3 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
11 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
21 minutes
Week5
(3-5 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
13 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
23 minutes
Week6
(3-5 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
15 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
25 minutes
Week7
(3-5 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
18 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
28 minutes
Week8
(3-5 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
20 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
30 minutes
Week9
(3-5 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
23 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
33 minutes
Week10
(3-5 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
26 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
36 minutes
Week11
(3-5 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
28 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
38 minutes
Week12
(3-5 days)
Walk slowly
5 minutes
Walk briskly
30 minutes
Walk slowly & stretch
5 minutes
40 minutes

Where to Walk

For many people, the best places to walk are parks, especially if they have paths or roadways designated just for exercisers. Country lanes, neighborhood streets and malls can also be wonderful places to walk. Consider the walking surface, motor traffic, the weather, your personal safety and the pleasantness of the surroundings when determining your walking route. If the weather turns nasty, find out if your local shopping mall has a mall walkers’ club. Many places open their doors early to let walkers get their exercise in while avoiding the elements.

Man’s Best Friend

One of the best things about going for a walk is that you can take along your family pet! Take your dog on a fitness walk. Thirty minutes of fast walking with your dog is one of the best ways to maintain your dog’s weight and general health. If you walk at a fast pace, you can save even more time by combining your dog’s walk with your own fitness walk. This is a great incentive for you to exercise too! To make it more interesting, walk a different path every day and enjoy the scenery. Another way to incorporate your dog into physical activity is to play a lively game of ball. Most dogs adore playing ball. Throw the ball for your dog nonstop for 20 to 30 minutes every evening. Not only did will your dog maintain a perfect body weight, but he will most likely experience less health problems throughout his life.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a winter activity that provides an excellent blend of muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness. It can be performed at various intensities and durations to suit one’s fitness level. Adding heavier poles can further increase caloric expenditure while working the upper body musculature more intensely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.