Our tour guide on an overseas trip had a way to announce to the group it was time to move on with, “And we’re walking.” And walk we did.
Walking gets us from point A to point B. Some walk for leisure and not merely necessity. But you can also walk for fitness or athletics.
Walk for Health, Fun & Sport
If you’re looking for a fitness routine that’s easy on the budget and requires no or limited special equipment, consider walking. Yes, walking is a workout.
Many times we don’t feel like we’re working out unless our feet are pounding the pavement in a run or jog. I am sensitive to the fact that not everyone is willing or able to hit the pavement running. Start where you are and build up over time. Always consult a medical doctor before beginning any health/fitness program.
We’ll look at several types of walking.
Pedestrian walking is basic or normal walking. It can be walking the city streets or taking a stroll in the park. Ideally, you should use correct posture no matter what type of walking you’re doing. However, there’s not a particular technique for pedestrian walking. This is the type of walking to start with if you’re not in shape or have been out of the exercise loop for a while. Gradually build up.
- If there are no sidewalks or paths, walk on the side facing road traffic.
- Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Wear reflective clothes/shoes if walking at night.
Introduce fitness walking when you’re ready to pick up speed, endurance and intensity. Fitness walking may incorporate other movements, such as arm exercises and small hand-weights/gloves. Speed, brisk and power walking are types of fitness walking.
You begin to thoughtfully use correct form and posture with fitness walking. Techniques are introduced to get the best benefits from fitness walking.
- Do not lean backward or forward when walking.
- Your body should be straight up and down with a vertical torso.
Nordic walking involves using Nordic walking poles. The poles enhance basic or normal walking and you burn more calories. Ski poles are not substitutes for Nordic walking poles. Proper equipment and form are key.
Hiking or Trekking
A nice stroll in the park to admire fallen snow or colorful leaves is definitely leisure with health benefits. Perhaps you’d like your stroll to turn into a pleasurable workout challenge while enjoying the scenery. There’s hiking and trekking. There may be designated hiking trails in your area. You’ll also need some supplies/equipment for a safe hiking or trekking experience.
Trekking is arduous, and involves greater distances, time, heights and challenges than hiking. Check out Lonely Planet’s 10 Best Treks in the World for inspiration.
Walkers are athletes, too. Race walking, anyone?
Race walking is not speed or power walking. To differentiate race walking from running, USA Track & Field (USATF) defines race walking as requiring the competitor to “maintain contact with the ground at all times and requires the leading leg to be straightened as the foot makes contact with the ground until in the vertical upright position.” It’s about proper form, flexibility, strength and endurance. The goal is to not violate the USATF rule or definition of race walking during a competition.
Are You Ready?
Are you ready for a walking challenge? Now is the perfect time to walk your way into wellness. And we’re walking…