YOU KNOW that walking regularly can mitigate or even prevent a host of conditions ranging from obesity to heart disease. But do you know how to walkto get the most out of your exercise sessions?
Here are some pointers.
* Aim for a confident, “walk tall” posture, which means keeping your head
high, shoulders down and back, stomach in, and buttocks under. Slouching over
compresses your organs and diaphragm (the muscle that moves the lungs), making
it difficult to breathe as deeply as you could with good posture.
* Start at a comfortable pace with even steps. Gradually pick up speed, but
don’t shoot for an overly long stride. It won’t burn extra calories or work
your muscles any better.
* Let your arms swing freely and rhythmically, using them to help power you
along. Moving your arms while walking also helps give you balance–and works
more muscle groups in the process.
* Take full, relaxed breaths. “People often hold their breath during
exercise–it’s an unconscious behavior,” says Jennifer Layne, an exercise
physiologist at Tufts. But not breathing freely means short delays in getting
oxygen to all your body tissues as you move along.
* Try to work up to a brisk pace. If you’re not moving at a pace that’s fast
enough to deepen your breathing and make your heart beat faster, you may be
burning a few calories and even lifting your mood–but you’re not
strengthening your heart and lungs or improving your endurance. In other
words, if you’re not challenging yourself at all, you’re not engaging in
Note: Many of these tips come from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder
Affairs’ Keep Moving program
* Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, Nov 1999 v17 i9 p7. Are You Using The Best Walking Technique? Full Text COPYRIGHT 1999 W.H. White Publications, Inc.
* Interview with Rebecca Solnit, author of Wanderlust. A literary history of human perambulation.
*Peace Pilgrim walked around the continental USA sharing a message of simplicity and peace.