Galloway NYC  
New York Walkers Club
  Healthwalk Training Program
by Howard "Jake" Jacobson

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     Americans everywhere are beginning to realize that "Walking is one of Man's Best Medicines." Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, prescribed walking in ancient times - times when people went just about everywhere on foot. Today, some 70 million people have chosen the oldest and simplest form of exercise - walking - as their fitness activity.
      You can lift your spirits while lowering your weight and enjoy a slimmer, stronger body without suffering for a week after every workout. If you participate in a fitness program that is easy to begin and easy to stick with, you can help increase your cardiorespiratory fitness and help reduce your chances for heeart disease. Try making some changes - "small changes" - like eating a little less and exercising a little more. You'll see for yourself that getting and staying in shape can be easier than you think - and lots of fun!

     There is no real secret. The NYWC Healthwalk Training Program is really quite simple; just regular, moderate exercise, like walking; or more vigorous walking - Healthwalking - coined by me in 1982 while traveling the country teaching people of all ages how to walk for fitness.

3 Reasons to Healthwalk!
1) Healthwalking builds cardiovascular fitness
2) Healthwalking works the major muscle groups.
3) Healthwalking is easy and convenient to do.

Why Walk?
     Our bodies were primarily designed for walking - not especially for sitting or lying down nor running. Walking is the easiest and safest form of exercise with the same benefits of and without the many injuries of more strenuous activities.
Walking can improve muscle tone throughout the body even more than running because the walking stride involves more muscles including the abdominals, thighs, buttocks, calves, arms, chest, back and more.
Walking strengthens the heart muscle increasing its efficiency, producing a lower pulse rate. Walking increases the flow of blood in the arteries which lessens the buildup of plaque thereby reducing the risk of heart attack.
Walking expands the lung capacity circulating vital oxygen all over the body. Walking slows the aging process. And you can start a walking program at any age!

Training Zone For Your Heart
     Measure your conditioning progress by checking your pulse rate...within seconds of completing your walk...apply finger tips to the radial artery on the inside of your wrist just below the bone. Count the number of heart beats in a 10-second period, then multiply by six for your heart rate.
Walking's cardiovascular benefits can be achieved when the heart is working up to 70% - 80% of its capacity. The chart below is based on a 70% maximum heart rate average. A serious approach to fitness should be done after consultation with your doctor.

Heart Rate Guidelines at Various Ages

Warming 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 tendon.
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.

Coordinate 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.

Shoes and Clothing
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:

Beginning Healthwalker's Program

Week Target Zone Total Time In Minutes  
    (Warm-up walk - cool-down)  
1 Walk on alternate days briskly 15 min. 25 min.
2 Walk on alternate days briskly 20 min. 30 min.
3 Walk daily-briskly 20 min. 30 min.
4 Walk daily-briskly 25 min. 35 min.
5 Walk daily-briskly 30 min. 40 min.
6 Walk daily-briskly 2 miles or more 40 min.
7 Walk daily-briskly 2 1/2 miles or more 45 min.
8 Walk daily-briskly 3 mile or more 52 min.
     The weeks and months ahead are maintenance. You may gradually work you way up to Healthwalking at a faster pace and for longer distances. Just remember, it is better to walk further than it is to walk faster. It trains the heart better and burns fat better.