Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Walk this Way!

on January 12, 2012

I have written about walking before, and will most likely write about walking again but I really believe in walking. Walking is a free, no expensive equipment needed exercise that pretty  much everyone can do.  Walking can be done  anywhere at anytime and it is easy to modify the intensity, depending on your fitness goals.  However, walking can get a bit monotonous if  you don’t change it up now and then.  We all have our favorite routes and tend to do the same thing day after day so…

 Let’s learn some new ways to walk!

1- Namba.  Up until about 150 years ago virtually all Japanese learned to walk in a special style called the namba, in which the right arm and leg swing forward at the same time, and then the left arm and leg swing forward. No one knows why this was done, the Japanese are now allowed to walk like the rest of us!

 

I have added Namba walking to my routine, my husband calls it the Franken Chicken Walk.   It sounds ridiculous but walking with left arm/left leg out then right arm/right leg out is really tough.  Your brain has to work as it is not natural to move this way, your core will work harder to keep your balance, and you will find yourself tiring quickly.  I have been doing 2 minute intervals of Namba walking for the past few weeks and it has really strengthened my lower back and obliques.  Caution- it looks crazy and you will get a few “looks” from others but keep at it!

Doing the Frankenchicken!

2- Intervals. Walk at your usual pace for 5 minutes.  Pick up the pace for 2-3 minutes.  Walk at your pace for 2-3 minutes.  Pick up the pace for 2-3 minutes.  I think you get the drift of this!  You will find that your “usual” pace speeds up and your intervals will be even faster.  This is a great way to build cardio endurance for beginners.

Yes, you can do intervals on a treadmill, just hit the speed up key!

3- 100’s.  Walk 100 steps.  Jog (or run)  100 steps.  Walk 200 steps.  Jog (or run) 200 steps. Walk 300 steps.  Jog (or run) 300 steps.  Do this to 500.  After doing 500 steps jogging, do 400 steps walking, then 400 jogging, 300 walking, 300 jogging down to 100.  Walk at a normal pace for 5 minutes to bring your heart rate down before stopping.  I enjoy this as I am so busy counting that I don’t realize how far I have gone and how hard I am working!

4- 10 Second Spurts.  After walking normally for 5 minutes to warm up, run as fast as you can for 10 seconds.  Slow down and walk for 1 minute.  Run as fast as you can for 10 seconds, walk for a minute.  Do this for 30 minutes.  Whew!!  I don’t think I have run at top speed for 20 years, it was quite a shock to the system and I found that I enjoyed it. Disclaimer: I enjoyed it for 10 seconds at a time knowing I had a 1 minute walk coming up!

No excuses- get out there and WALK!

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