Up Before Healthwalking
Just as you'd warm up a car engine on a cold
day before driving, your body needs to be properly "warmed" if
it's going to function at its best when you walk. This is especially true
if you're out of shape; because connective tissues become less elastic with
inactivity, your chances of injury are greater. So it's important to stretch
your muscle-tendon units to increase your flexibility and reduce the risks
of getting hurt before you begin each healthwalking workout.
Warm-ups and Cool-downs
Do this sequence of stretches for five minutes
before walking and five afterward.
Knee-bend - Warm up the knees and stretches the backs
of the thighs.
1. With toes, heels and knees together, arms alongside knees, squat down.
Place your fingers on the floor.
2. Straighten legs, leaving fingers on the floor ( or as close as possible),
remaining bent over.
3. Repeat four to six times until really loose.
Calf stretch - Stretches calf muscles, warms the Achille's
1. Stand about three to four feet from a tree or wall, placing hands against
wall. Lean forward against the wall, bending your arms and keeping the
right heel firmly on the floor. As you lean forward, drop your right hip,
stretching the right calf. The left leg should be bent slightly. Hold
for ten seconds, then stretch the left leg.
Quad stretch - Stretches the front of the thigh.
1. Stand straight while reaching to the left side for a chair or wall
for support. With left leg as the supporting leg, bend right knee, and
with right hand grasp foot behind you, holding heel against buttocks.
Gently push back with your knee, holding heel in place. You should feel
the stretch on the front of the thigh. Hold for ten seconds: reverse for
the left leg.
How To Turn A Walk Into A Healthwalk
Have you ever noticed people trying to walk into
the wind? They lean forward from the ankles, their bodies and legs pressing
forward to keep moving. Their arms and legs pump together - with quick
steps. The best way to accomplish fast walking in an efficient manner
is to do what comes naturally: stride forward with a slight body lean
(from the ankles) and reach out for the ground with the heel, planting
the heel with a straight leg and walking with a purposeful stride.
If you would like to walk even faster -
bend your arms and pump them forward and across your chest the way a sprinter
does. You'll be surprised at how fast you can walk! Walk tall, with good
rhythm, by taking medium length strides and quick steps.
The number of strides you take is more important
to a good Healthwalking pace than the length of each stride. You propel
yourself forward by pushing off firmly with each step.
your breathing with your steps as follows:
Right leg - Left leg Right leg - Left Leg
I-N-H-A-L-E and E-X-H-A-L-E
Are You Ready?
Let's Get Started.
Always be sure to get your doctor's approval before starting this or any
other exercise program. And even after you've been given a clean bill
of health, remember: You'll feel best and minimize your risk of injury
if you don't try to do too much too soon.
The best shoes for walking are athletic walking shoes, well cushioned
to provide good support and good fit. In hot weather wear light, loose
fitting clothing. Gear up for cold weather by dressing in layers that
can be removed easily if you get too warm. Make sure that in extreme cold
you wear a hat and gloves.
Now if your ready
to start walking, you may want to begin with the program suggested here: