FOR SOME, JUST WALKING AND RUNNING MOST DAYS of the week is the best that can be mentally and physically mustered to maintain fitness. The thought of adding floor exercises or weight training workouts is a turn-off. And scheduling complicated speed or interval drills would seem to require too much concentration and effort. Forget about cross training; a gym membership or purchase of additional equipment is likely to be necessary.
After all, a ‘pure’ running and/or walking routine without a strategy is our escape; it’ serves as a form of healthy and active relaxation. Complicating it with other forms of fitness work would turn it into, well, work. Needing to think while walking or running is the issue. We just want to ‘do’ our exercise, not plan and execute a set of maneuvers. Our lives are becoming increasingly stressful, and we definitely don’t want exercise to follow the same trajectory.
The problem is that we may want to be getting something more from the ‘pure’ walk/run workout, as long as we are spending time at it. Each year, in spite of maintaining or even slightly increasing our ’pure’ effort, we seem to be losing ground. Perhaps putting on a few extra pounds, rounding off what was a defined muscular profile, or expanding the horizontal dimensions of torso, arms, and legs.
Marc Lindsay, in an excellent article for Under Armor’s MyFitnessPal blog, “7 Walking Tips to Lose Weight Faster” is also providing simple tactics by which ‘pure’ walks or runs might be easily adjusted to build overall fitness, and assist with weight control. The tips are paraphrased below by Earned Runs:
Add walks; more but shorter
Be intense; include bursts of speed at regular intervals
Perform hill work; don’t let geography stop you, use treadmill incline, stairs, ramps*
Involve your upper body & core; pull elbows back
Steps are important: set goals
Decrease calories; a must if weight loss is a goal
Bundle strength training into walks
Lindsay’s piece is focused on weight loss and walkers, but contains elements of a plan that can lead to improved health, endurance, and strength for those who wish to maintain essentially ‘pure’ running and walking routines. Fully read his article to best understand the thoughtful advice.
Runners can follow the same advice as is given to walkers, by adding distance/steps, increasing and varying speed in workouts, including hills/inclines, incorporating bodyweight moves, and engaging the upper body and core by pulling elbows back while moving. Mindfulness in calorie consumption is a must for every person who is no longer growing taller.
Attempt to follow one tip/tactic at a time, except for the calorie intake part. Over this summer it should be easier to do than during the colder darker months.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*Ramps: don’t forget that a mall or building parking ramp can function as a wonderfully convenient hill. If the parking structure is covered, a ramp session will allow for a risk-free workout on rainy and especially stormy days. See the OH THE PLACES YOU”LL GO! page for more Earned Runs insights on locations to run, walk.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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