FITNESS EXPERT LESLIE SANSONE offers a very, very BASIC approach to begin fitness walking in a MyFitnessPal.com piece “So You Want to Start…Fitness Walking”. Her article first describes what to wear (shoes, clothes), then details a starter plan that covers what to do once you walk out the door! Next she lays out some basic goals for a beginner to achieve in terms of first distance, then speed. The ultimate goal is walking 2 miles in 30 minutes (walking 15minute/mile is decent pace!). She provides her brand of “secret sauce” when it comes to walking, which involves pulling in the abdominal muscles toward the back to stabilize the core in a “tummy tuck” move.
Sometimes we need this kind of article to attempt a totally new activity. Other times we feel we have progressed beyond such instructions. My experience is that a small nugget of golden information can be hidden in technically entry-level pieces. It cannot hurt to quickly review one when it comes to attention. Perhaps there’s nothing new to learn. Or, there may be a single piece of insight or advice that WHEN APPLIED, transforms the experience and allows advancement beyond a previous plateau.
I have been walking more in the evenings to get outdoors and enjoy the lovely soft summer weather and lighting that time of day. It decreases my TV viewing time. Running would stress my legs a bit more than is wise on my training plan to run a fast 5K in early August. However, I want to get the very most out of that time as possible.
I can offer an additional piece of advice to walkers that I adapted from running form ( links below.)
Keep your head up head up and looking ahead and your shoulders low and loose (but not slumped forward). Your torso and back will naturally straighten to allow you to move in an efficient, upright position that promotes optimal lung capacity. This torso posturing is often described as running or walking "tall”; you should be stretching yourself up to your full height with your back comfortably straight.
Unclench your hands; let your thumb and index fingers lightly touch (like an OK sign) if you can’t seem to stop forming fists. Your arms should swing slightly back and forward but not across your body, with elbows tucked in and bent at about a 90 to 120 degree angle. You don’t need to “pump” your arms. You will feel the back swings in your abdomen.
Combining this walking tall posture/arms swinging back move with the “tummy tuck” Sansone describes, will definitely work your core/abdomen. You’ll know you’re working those muscles if you are tempted to start walking with straight arms and slumped posture! An added benefit is that you will be working to improve posture.
As with running, you might warm up for 15-20 minutes without worrying about form too much. For the next 15-20 minutes hold the tall posture and intermittently “pulse” the tummy tuck for a count of 5-10, working up to longer periods. Cool down for another 5-10 minutes without worrying too much about form.
RUN AND WALK HAPPY!
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. I began participating in 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.
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