We thought at Vavista Life it was about time to step away from the anti-gravity yoga, ditch the aqua spinning (yes, cycling waist deep in water) and get back to basics – what’s wrong with walking?
You can walk anywhere, anytime, it can be a solo pursuit or with a gaggle of friends – what’s more it’s free and studies have shown that exercising outside goes beyond boosting your fitness, but boosts your mood too.
Now, we must point out, when we sing the praises of good old-fashioned walking when it comes to burning up the calories, we’re not talking a leisurely amble around the shops. Fitness expert, Charlene Hutsebaut explains how to maximise your calorie burn (a brisk 20 minute walk should burn around 130kcal!) and how you’ll know you’ve hit the ‘power’ speed!
How does walking help tone and boost my fitness?
Walking works not only the obvious muscles throughout the legs, pelvis, torso and arms in order to move the body but more specifically the heart which is a cardiac muscle. By raising the heart rate and having it pump over and over again this muscle improves it’s fitness by having to work harder and harder. Cardio exercise is to the heart, what lifting a weight in the gym is to your other muscles – so don’t forget to flex it! As the heart becomes stronger with regular cardio exercise, such as walking, it is able to pump more blood – supplying the body with the same amount of oxygen but more efficiently. Good news for heart health! To achieve this through walking, ensure you exercise:
- In different environments – grass, tarmac, sand etc
- At different intensities – power walk at full speed between alternate lamp posts, or in 90 second bursts.
- Using inclines or hills – ensure you vary your route – don’t avoid those big hills!
- Why not integrate walking into an interval session (walk, lunge, walk, press-ups, walk, squats, walk etc)?
Okay, but how do I know I’m going at the right pace for a ‘brisk walking’?
- If you are walking at a brisk pace your body will let you know with the following reactions:
- Increase heart rate (either feel this within yourself or use a heart rate monitor)
- Increase body temperature
- You will know if they have a challenging yet safe pace if they can still carry on a conversation with their walking buddy and feel like they are working but are still able to keep their balance.
Before you step out:
- Ensure you have comfortable, suitable footwear – you don’t want cramp or blisters hindering you!
- Take a bottle of water with you
- Wear layers – you’ll be surprised how hot you get
- Why not download your favourite music, audiobook or pod cast to keep you company? Or team up with a friend and catch up as you stride out.
So what’s stopping you? If you want to start walking your way to better health today, then join us on our 10k AnyWay walking challenge today.