Fitness Walking Tips

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Which shoes should I buy for my workout?

Walking Equipment/Sneakers

The right sneaker can make or break your 20 minute workout. If you have a shoe that gives you blisters or makes your feet ache, you will not enjoy your walk and you run the risk of injury. Walks should be enjoyable and effective, so when searching for the perfect walking sneaker keep this criteria in mind:

  • Walking sneakers must have a firm heel. Your heel gets the most impact, so you should pick a sneaker that has some sort of shock guard to protect it.
  • Make sure you have enough to room to move your toes comfortably without pinching.
  • Look for a cushioned collar and cushioned tongue to protect more sensitive areas of the foot and to fasten the fit.
  • Velcro walking shoes aid in securing the fit and are easy to put on.
  • Go shoe shopping in the afternoon when your feet are more swollen in order to find a perfect fit.
  • If you want walking shoes, buy walking shoes, if you want running, buy running and so on. There really is a difference between the fit and efficiency.

   
What is water walking?

Water Walking

Water walking is an excellent aerobic exercise that burns calories without putting strain on your joints. It is a great way to stay in shape if you are trying to recover from injury or if you are over the age of 65. Both water walking and water jogging use the same muscles as their land counterparts, but do not do as much wear and tear on your joints and tendons.

If you are just starting this sport, ease into it with a 5-minute water walking session. Stand waist deep in a body of water with your abs and buttocks tightened, shoulders back and chest raised. Your arms should be straight throughout their swing, but use your palms to push against the water. Keep your abs tight and walk as you normally would. Try doing high knee kicks if you want to make the exercise more challenging.

After a few weeks, try to move on to water jogging. Water jogging can burn between 300 and 500 calories per hour. It differs from water walking in that instead of walking along the pool floor you jog in place. It's a great aerobic workout during the hot summer months. Try to sustain your water jog for a 10 minute workout at first and then increase the time as you get better at it.

   
Hiking clothing and gear is so expensive. Where can I find bargains?

Hiking Gear List

Okay! We've got you psyched about hiking. Now it's time to get in gear. An online store such as SierraTradingPost.com is a great place to start. Once you place an order from them, you receive periodic emails that inform you about their spectacular sales. If you have a GMail account, use Google checkout and receive further discounts.

Here is a checklist of items you will need to pack for a hiking trip:

  • One pair hiking boots or sturdy shoes. Make sure to break them in before your trip!
  • One or two pairs of long pants
  • Underwear or long johns: It can get cold up there!
  • Two or three t-shirts. One should be long sleeved
  • One pair of shorts
  • One or two wool or fleece turtlenecks
  • A hat for sun protection
  • A backpack
  • Hiking socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • A water bottle
  • A water purifier: Some stream water is not suitable for drinking!
  • A waist back that has items you will readily need. Some waist packs even have a pocket for your water bottle.
  • Trail Mix or other types of high carbohydrate snacks.

   
What are the benefits of hiking?

Benefits of Hiking

Hiking provides an inexpensive mode of vacation. Even better, since you will be burning a significant number of calories every day, you might even come back slimmer, rather than heavier. Since hiking is uphill, it burn more calories than traditional walking. Furthermore, the obstacles you encounter during a hike will enhance you balance skills.

Hiking also has some great social benefits. For example, if you live on the East Coast, consider purchasing a membership at the Appalachian Mountain club, which sponsor camping and hiking trips to locations throughout the Appalachian Trail. There are also a number of other hiking organizations throughout the United States.

Studies show that a 150 pound person hiking at two miles per hour will about 240 calories an hour. Other research has proven that hiking can help you control your cholesterol, which will in turn prevent heart disease. Additional benefits include controlling diabetes, preventing osteoporosis and slowing the aging process. Of course, if you live in a polluted urban area, hiking provides a welcome escape into the fresh, clean air! Weight control, heart disease prevention, social benefits and a cheap vacation: What are you waiting for? Go take a hike!

   
Do I have to compete to be a racewalker?

Racewalking

Don't be fooled by the word "Racewalking." You don't have to be a competitive racer to enjoy this mega-calorie burning form of exercise. Racewalking is the perfect activity for any woman who has muscular skeletal injuries that would prevent her from running. There are two basic rules of racewalking:

  • Your feet must maintain contact with the ground at all times.
  • You need to keep the knee of the supporting leg straight from the moment of foot contact with the ground. It will remain straight until the leg passes under the body.

Good posture is important for racewalkers. Most experts will advise you to stand tall and lean forward from your ankles, as opposed to your waist. Try to resist the temptation to look down at your feet. Holding your head down will close off your windpipe, thereby making breathing more difficult. Your head should remain level at all times.

As your racewalking speed picks up, try to avoid the tendency to hunch your shoulders. Consider this: Any form of tension requires energy. If you waste energy by tensing your shoulders, there will be less energy available to create a dynamic, calorie-burning workout. Speaking of burning calories, a 130-pound woman will burn approximately 210 calories in a 30-minute racewalking workout.

   
How can I burn more calories while walking?

Rev it Up: Burning More Calories While Walking

Since walking is considered a low intensity workout, if you are interested in weight loss, you might need to do a few things to rev up the intensity. Here are some ideas.

  • Pick up the Speed: Do the math. If you walk faster, you will burn more calories per minute.
  • Try some Intervals: If you are not quite ready for speed walking, you can practice speeding up for three-minute intervals dispersed throughout your workout.
  • Go climb a hill: Walking up hills burns more calories than walking on the flat surfaces. It works wonder on toning your gluteals muscles.
  • Take a Hike: At altitudes over 5,000 feet, your body will burn about 30 calories more per hour. Also, the physical challenges involved in hiking will burn a few extra calories.
  • Get a set of hiking poles: Walking poles such as Leki or Nordic Walker have been shown to increase caloric expenditure.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: Shoes that don't quite fit right can cause you to walk more slowly, which will in turn burn less calories.
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Your walking clothing should allow you to move freely, thereby making movements that are big enough to burn sufficient calories.
  • Take Bigger Strides: Larger strides use more muscle groups, and therefore burn more calories.
  • Use Your Upper Body: Once again, the more muscles you use, the more calories you will burn.

If you have been inactive for a significant period of time, some of these measures may be too challenging. In that case, try to increase the duration of your walking workout.

   
What are the benefits of a walking program?

Benefits of Starting a Walking Program

If you have been relatively inactive, or if you suffer from any sort of chronic muscular-skeletal injuries, beginning a walking program can put you on the right track for gradual improvement of your level of fitness. Walking on a regular basis is also an excellent way to control your weight.

There are a number of other less obvious, but equally important benefits of starting a walking program. Here are some of them:

  • Walking is a highly social exercise that allows you to get out and meet new people.
  • It is also an economical alternative to driving your car, or even paying for public transportation.
  • No special skills are required for a walking program.
  • With the exception of a comfortable pair of walking shoes, no special equipment is required to start a walking program.
  • Even people with health conditions can begin a walking program.
  • Studies have shown that even moderate exercise can control your appetite.
  • Studies have shown that even moderate exercise can enhance mood and prevent depression.
  • Many studies have shown that exercise can prevent heart disease.
  • Walking, especially uphill, is an excellent way to sculpt your legs.

   
Is walking really beneficial to women over 65?

Walking for Women Over 65

Walking, especially for women that are over 65, is incredibly beneficial. If you make it a part of your lifetime fitness plan walking will not only improve your body, but your mind as well. Here are some other ways in which walking is beneficial:

  • It prevents the onset of arthritis
  • It improves balance which helps reduce the risk of falls
  • It decreases the risk of heart disease
  • A 20 minute workout can offset fatigue
  • Consistent walking is a mood elevator and can help offset depression associated with aging
  • Walking can be a time for family bonding and social excursions. Walk to the park with your grandchildren or meet your friends in town for a day of shopping. Enjoy the outdoors.

   
How do I get into a walking routine?

Beginner Walking

Have you ever noticed that city people are sometimes slimmer than their suburban counterparts? The answer is simple: They walk. A lot. At first it may seem overwhelming to venture somewhere without the speed and efficiency of your motorized vehicle, but you become slimmer and feel overall more healthy when you start walking as often as possible.

Begin with a 10 minute workout walk everyday. It is important to establish a routine that you become accustomed to. Ease into it by walking at a comfortable pace, which will typically be around 2.5 mph. In order to stop your daily walk from becoming boring, venture to new places, parks or interesting architectural buildings. Explore. Discover the area in which you live. After a week of consistent 10 minute walks, raise the bar to 20 minute workout walks and you will feel even better. Here is some more information for your fitness walking routine:

  • If you push a 2.5 mph walk, you will burn 35 calories per every 10 minutes. A 3.5 mph pace burns 42 calories every 10 minutes.
  • Make walking a social experience. Invite your friends along for a walk to a park you discovered. Bring a picnic to reward yourselves.
  • Try walking while holding 5lb weights to spice up your routine.
  • Buy a pedometer to track your progress.

   
What is power walking?

Power Walking

Power walking is a more intense level of walking that gives you even more energy and improves your muscle fitness. Power walking increases your metabolic rate and therefore prevents weight gain and increases your lifetime fitness. The benefits and steps on how to master aerobic walking are as follows:

  • Frequency: Aim for 20 minute workout power walks everyday. Consistency is key in a workout routine. Your efforts will not go unnoticed; soon you will be able to do everyday things such as climbing the stairs more easily.
  • Intensity: Swing your arms and take larger steps while exercising. Your pace should be much quicker than your normal walking pace. Aim to cut the amount of time you take to walk a mile by a third.
  • Build power walking into your life by walking instead of driving to work, school or friends' houses. Walk to get your morning coffee. Go for a invigorating walk with your coworkers on your break, or power walk to a park during your lunch break.
  • If you find that you experience leg or foot pains while power walking, make sure you are wearing the right walking shoes that fit correctly and give you plenty of support.
  • Power walking can burn more than 600 calories per hour.

   
I pronate. Waht kind of walking shoe should I buy?

How to Choose a Walking Shoe

Choosing the right walking shoe is equally as important as choosing the right running shoe. Keep in mind that you might like the look or style of a particular type of shoe, but if it is not comfortable it will literally fail to go the miles. Your choice of walking shoe is dependent on the unique structure of your feet.

For example, take a look at the shoes you wear every day. If they seem to be worn our out towards the inner edges if your feet, you are a pronater, which means that you should purchase a walking shoe that has a significant amount of motion control. If you do not have a severe pronation problem, a stability shoe provides some control, but it is more flexible than a motion control shoe.

If you are a bit overweight, you might prefer a cushioned shoe. However, these might supply a bit less motion control than a typical motion control shoe. A viable option would be to get a motion control shoe and purchase a pair of gel inserts.

If you are a lightweight woman with no significant gait problems, you might want to consider a lightweight-walking shoe. These are also excellent if you are considering racewalking. Any woman who is thinking about using her walking skills to do some summer hiking should invest in a pair of trail shoes. These shoes have rugged soles that serve to protect you from the rocks and other obstacles. Choose a water resistant shoe. You'll never know when you have to walk on a rock trail across a stream. Recently, trail shoes have become more flexible, so they can double as your daily walking shoe.

   
What are some high tech gadgets I can use for my walking workout?

Walking Gadgets for Geeky Gals

Some women like to simply go out for a long walk and enjoy the scenery. Others are also interested in statistics: How far did I walk? How many calories did I burn? What is my heart rate? If you are a "gadget geek," you will probably be interested in the following products:

  • Walking Pedometers: Most of the high-tech walking pedometers require an Internet connection. Depending on the manufacturer, they will track your speed, stride length, distance walked and calories burned. Some walking pedometers feature other bells and whistles that allow you to enter your diet and wellness habits and receive health-related advice.
  • High Tech Watches: In the past 15 years, sport-watch technology has become highly advanced. Most come with speedometers and odometers that track your speed and distance. If you are adding interval training to walking routine, these watches also have a lap-timer.
  • GPS: If you are the type of walker who tends to forget where she went during her workout, some trainers come with a GPS that you can download to a map. This is an excellent feature if you want to try to repeat the same workout, but at a higher speed.
  • Heart Rate Monitors: if you don't need all of the bells and whistles, a simple heart rate monitor is sufficient.

   
Can I lose weight by walking?

Walking for Weight Loss

Walking is a great way to lose weight if you commit to it. Here are some ways to get more out of your 20 minute workout walk:

  • Walk at a pace that makes it difficult to have a conversation. Aim to walk at least 2.5 miles every 30 minutes. A powerful walk uses many more muscle than a moderate one. At a quick pace you could burn almost as many calories as you do on a jog without as much exhaustion. Powerful walks can increase your aerobic fitness.
  • If your power walk is 3 mph, you will burn 119 every 30 minutes. If your power walk is 4.5 mph you will burn 180 calories every 30 minutes. You should aim for 30 minute workout walks every day. Once you feel ready, raise the bar to 60 minute workout walks every day. You will burn substantially more calories this way.
  • The way to achieve such a quick pace is to quicken your step not your stride length. Walk tall. Keep your shoulders upright and your abs in.
  • Start every step with your heels and end on the balls of your feet. This makes your walk more efficient and won't slow you down. Use every part of your body. Swing your arms or carry arm weights along with you to burn more calories.
Include challenges on your walk. You can increase your calorie burn by 50% if you include inclines on your walk.

   
What is cross training?

Cross Training

Walkers tend to underestimate the value cross training can add to their sport. Cross training strengthens muscles by using those not utilized by walking. Cross training for walkers can also lead to more fulfilling walks and far fewer injuries.

Common cross training activities for walkers include biking, hiking, inline skating, and running. Biking is one of the best cross training methods for walkers for several reasons. It benefits the cardiovascular system, strengthens your quadriceps and ultimately tones your legs to move faster. Faster-moving legs lead to a faster power walk. A 20 minute workout on a bike or an indoor bike at a moderate rate can burn more than 150 calories.

   
What are some of the best cities for pedestrains?

Best Cities for Walkers

The ability to burn sufficient calories by walking is paramount to any weight-loss plan. In fact, weight control experts suggest that if you are eating out and then going to a show, you should make sure to leave enough time to walk to the theatre, so that the calories don't just "sit" in your system. Whether you are considering relocation, or are just interested in taking a car free vacation, these cities are pedestrian friendly.

  • New York: The energy and pulse of the city alone makes New York a great place for walkers. Public transportation is always readily available, in case your feet get a bit tired. When you get tired of the urban sprawl, escape to Central Park. The down side: Pollution levels can be high.
  • Boston: The Freedom Trail is one of the most exciting attractions in Boston. You can take it as an organized tour, or buy a guidebook and do a self -guided tour. If you are interested in getting a killer butt workout, pay a visit to Beacon Hill, which is actually a series of mega-steep hills that seem to go on forever. Fortunately, the classic architecture is so unique, you won't realize that you are huffing and puffing. The down side: When crossing the streets, watch out for the Boston drivers!
  • San Francisco: Speaking of hills, San Francisco hast some of the steepest hill s in the country. Great scenery and interesting architecture provide a distraction from the exertion of your walking workout.

   
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