July 27, 2017

Is Walking Worth It? By Nicole Bryan

If you think all cardio has to be high intensity, all out, all the time, to gain health benefits, think again! Walking is a realistic, sustainable, effective and efficient cardiovascular exercise option for many. Proper walking for fitness form is important for increased efficiency. Increased efficiency means increased effectiveness, decreased risk of injury, reduced risk of falling, increased energy and sustainability of intensity during the workout.

Here are a few quality control check points to be aware of during your walking workout:

Even stride length between your right leg and your left leg. Uneven stride length could signal dysfunction of how your body is moving, which may lead to injury.

Walking in a heel to toe pattern. Walking flat-footed increases risk of falling. Walking or shuffling feet also decreases the distance covered (decreases energy expenditure) of each step.

Proper spinal alignment. Avoid the forward shoulders hunched over and head forward posture by keeping your ears lined up over your shoulders. Keep your shoulders lined up over your hips, hold your chin parallel to the floor, and keep your feet pointing forward.

Here are exercises to gain additional benefits and effectiveness in your walking for fitness workout:

Focus on increasing the turn-over of your steps. Basically shorten your stride and step faster. Moving at a faster pace will increase energy expenditure and burn more calories.

Power from your arms. Move more muscles, burn more calories.

Pull your belly button in, and pull your shoulders down and back. Why not get a core workout and strengthen your posture muscles at the same time? The result is additional benefit out of the same effort.

Practice deep breathing while walking. Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 4, exhale out your mouth for a count of 6. The result will be an increase in energy and decrease in stress.

Does walking offer health benefits? YES! Choose to move your body aerobically, on a regular basis. Find what you enjoy, and you’ll enjoy doing it.

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