Fitness walking is one of the latest fitness trends. And not without good reason. Regular walking lowers the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and also causes fewer injuries than its big brother - jogging. And the faster you are, the more benefits you can reap. In order to bring your natural walking speed up to fitness level, you need the right posture, exercise willpower and 30 to 60 minutes of your time four days a week. Are you ready?
Method 1 of 3: Correct posture
Step 1. Make sure you have the correct posture
As you walk, keep your chin up, your eyes straight ahead, your back straight, your chest up, and your shoulders relaxed. Walk in an imaginary straight line to better internalize this posture.
In order to have a better body awareness, you should definitely warm up before training - this is also important to prevent injuries. You should also stretch after exercising for the same reasons
Step 2. Use your arms
Your arms should be at your sides at a 90-degree angle. Your hands shouldn't be clenched - relax them. Swing your arms back and forth. Your arms should go straight forward and not cross in front of you.
If you include your arms in the workout, you will burn more calories. The more muscle groups you use, the greater the training effect will be
Step 3. Take “smaller” steps
It is a persistent misconception that one runs faster with big steps. At first glance, you might think that taking very long strides really makes you move faster. But the truth is, they only slow you down. How fast can your feet hit the ground when you take long strides? Not very quickly. Take shorter and faster steps and you will arrive at your goal faster.
Don't forget your posture. You will feel the urge to lengthen your strides (since you are so naturally running and used to it) but try to resist the urge. Maintain good posture, move your arms, and your feet will fly by themselves
Step 4. Push off with your toes
When your foot hits the ground, it should roll from heel to toe. Get up on your heel, then roll forward like you're trying to strip some chewing gum off the sole of your shoe. If you push off with your toes, your leg and buttock muscles are trained at the same time, which increases your training effect.
The natural suspension of your calf muscles will move your body forward and give you momentum. This landing is natural and just as your foot should naturally land and roll on the ground. If you deviate from this, you run the risk of injury
Step 5. Exercise your abs and buttocks
When walking, you should straighten your back and push your pelvis forward very slightly. Tense your muscles for greater training effect. It also aligns your whole body to run faster.
Step 6. Do not confuse this exercise with “power walking”
When most of us think of power walking, we imagine people marching through the area with arms swinging wide and strides excessively long. This should not be our goal. You should slide across the floor and not trample over it carelessly.
Some experts now use the term "fitness walking". And not without good reason. A brisk walk can burn as many calories as a run and is less damaging to your muscles
Method 2 of 3: have fun
Step 1. Choose a good pair of shoes
There have been many voices lately against the typically highly acclaimed cushioned shoe. The best shoe for your foot is a shoe with minimal padding that is flexible on the toes. Why? When your foot hits the ground, it needs a hard surface. If there is too much padding, the foot will hit the ground much harder than it should be. In short: the risk of injury is much higher.
While you may be tempted to spend a lot of money on a good shoe, studies say the opposite. Low- and medium-priced shoes are just as good as the expensive pair you have your eye on, and sometimes even better in terms of comfort and performance
Step 2. Find a nice place
It is important to find a flat, firm surface for your walk, or you will get tired faster or expose yourself to a higher risk of injury. If you have no idea where to go, go to the nearest footpath, park, nature reserve, school, or even a shopping center when it's not so busy.
Hiking trails are great for getting some fresh air and not having to worry about busy roads and traffic. If you live in an area that has a cold winter, you might want to go in for a walk. In this case, shopping malls (they usually open earlier for strollers before the shops are open) and of course gyms are best
Step 3. Bring some music
Sometimes it is nice to take a quiet and relaxing walk. On other days, however, you'll need music to keep you in the mood. Bring your player and headphones and see if music keeps you going. Bring energetic music that will put you in a good and active mood. The right songs can be a great driver.
If you're particularly careful, create a playlist of songs that are below 75-130 BPM ("beats per minute"). This is the perfect music to keep you moving. If you follow the beats, some will drive you more and some less, but you will always move quickly
Step 4. Take a friend with you
There is nothing better than having someone by your side to keep you going - after all, you don't want to lag behind your boyfriend, do you? Not only will it help you keep your speed. If you are fit enough, you can also talk during the walk. If you can't do that yet, you can set it as a goal and watch your progress over the weeks.
But sometimes go alone to add a little variety. At times, you may be more in the mood for an unaccompanied walk. If you do the walk with a friend, it remains something special and does not become something that can be taken for granted
Step 5. Try different times of the day and different locations
To make the walk a habit, you need to figure out your perfect time of day and your favorite place. Do you prefer a hiking trail or the gym? Sunrise, sunset or sometime in between?
Even after you've discovered your favorite time and place, there are still times when you need to add variety. Otherwise you will possibly get used to your surroundings too much and no longer notice how beautiful they are. A walk or two in the mall will make you appreciate the flowers and nature again afterwards
Method 3 of 3: stay motivated
Step 1. Set goals
It's difficult to stick with something that we haven't set a goal for beforehand. Whether it's your job, a diet, a habit you're trying to build up, or getting rid of, goals help us stay on track. Here are some examples:
- Count how many steps you take in one minute. Do this three times a day (not more often, otherwise you won't feel like doing it anymore) and watch this number slowly increase.
- Match your pace to the fastest songs in your playlist.
- Use markers to go faster. Do you see the bank up there? Try to get there as soon as possible and resist the urge to slow down.
Step 2. Wear a heart rate monitor or pedometer
Walks that aim to improve fitness or lose weight can feel more effective when you can measure your progress over distance and your heart rate. A pedometer shows you how many steps you have taken. Believe it or not, it is recommended that you take around 12,000 to 15,000 steps a day.
- Your heart rate mainly depends on your physical fitness and your age. There are many tables online that you can use to find out your exercise heart rate.
- Increase your exercise time by 10% every week. If you run for 30 minutes four days a week (a good start), increase that to 33 minutes the next week. This is a decent percentage that you won't overtake or injure yourself.
Step 3. Check your speed
If you don't have an electronic way to measure your progress (like an app on your smartphone) and you're not on a sports field where you can easily measure your distance, try counting your steps. How many steps can you take in 20 seconds? Then multiply this number by 3. If you can take at least 120 steps per minute (40 steps in 20 seconds, 2 steps in one second), you have a speed of almost 5 kmh, which is the minimum speed for a fitness walk.
Ideally, however, you should be 6.4 to 7.2 kmh
Step 4. Stop every now and then to do strength exercises
To increase your training effect, stop every 5 to 10 minutes to do a few pushups or lunges. This interval training will surprise your body, train more muscle groups, and increase calorie burn.
You will also be able to hold out longer. After a few push-ups and jumping jacks, your body will be relieved and welcome to walk again quickly
Step 5. To enjoy the health benefits, don't forget to walk fast
There are more and more studies to show that walking is as good, if not better, than jogging. This is true, only true if you keep a speed of about 6.4 km / h. The benefits decrease the slower you walk, or some of them no longer exist.
It used to be assumed that if you run at 3 kmh, for example, but walk twice as long, you have the same training effect. However, it has now been found that while you may burn a similar number of calories, your muscles are not trained to keep the body fit
- Listen to music on your MP3 or CD player.
- Increase your time to an hour or more on weekends and holidays.
- Wear wide or stretchy, comfortable pants.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid traffic fumes so as not to strain your lungs.
- Remember not to run. When walking, at least one foot should be on the ground at all times.
- Wear simple clothing.
- If you have any health or age-related problems, see your doctor and ask for their opinion.