The previous Great NEWS post was Minutes of Meditation for Magic Moments and today we focus on Power Walking Strategy: Powerful Wellness System.
The recent post on Maintaining Alignment, Muscles and Posture has now turned into a 10 part series with expanded content to help more people benefit and learn together. Discover greater details regarding how and why maintaining alignment, muscles and posture is so essential for your long term happiness and health. This week we start with Power Walking Strategy: Powerful Wellness System to discuss on of the easiest and most beneficial forms of exercise and fitness routines.
The original blog post shared my top 10 tips to help you keep your body in a peak performance physiology for life. It offered short summaries regarding simple suggestions for maintaining alignment, muscles and posture to prevent the challenges from becoming real pains in the back, butt and neck. A few sentences are often not enough to inform, influence and inspire you to take adequate action therefore this post is offering a more detailed explanation of one tip that will help improve the quality of your life now and for the future.
Preventative Approaches to Common Problems
Many people have ongoing back, elbow, head, hip, knee, neck, shoulder, wrist or other aches that refuse to go away and often flare up and cause ongoing problems. These may have resulted from a number of individual or collective causes. Even if you have not experienced this yet, applying these suggestions may help prevent them from occurring. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Common contributors include: bad posture, car accidents, chair design, child birth delivery issues, computer monitor placement, couches, ergonomics, falls, high heels, imbalanced muscle development, improperly fitting shoes, injuries, low quality shoe inserts and support, mattress/sleep problems, military service injuries, overdeveloped muscles, pillow size, poor alignment, posture, sports injuries, stress, tight muscles and tendons, underdeveloped muscles, unnatural gait running and walking and many more. Many things can directly and indirectly cause or lead to annoying pains and problems.
In Maintaining Alignment, Muscles and Posture Tip 2 we share “Power Walking.” This is a great way to take a quick break from school or work and quickly energize and revitalize the body and mind. The only things you need are a good pair of property fitting shoes, comfortable clothing, walking area, some hand weights and a well-designed backpack.
When you think of walking, most people are more likely to be strolling or walking fairly slowly when they walk and may often stop to talk or look at things. Strolling is not the same as power walking because you want to get your heart rate up, fully inflate your lungs and keep a brisk pace for at least twenty minutes. While any walking is good, doing a power walk in the same time will produce enhanced benefits and great long term results.
You may be asking: what exactly is power walking? and how do I begin? Power walking can turn a normal walk into a full body workout in the same amount of time. This will greatly increase the benefits and efficiency of your current walking time. Power walking involves using the entire body in a more deliberate way to produce better results in the same or even less time.
Power walking with a backpack and hand weights is a great way to build, maintain, stretch and support the entire body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. In addition to developing the foot, calf and upper leg muscles it also engages and exercises the hips, back, arms and neck in a more deliberate manner.
Pick Up Your Pace
A power walk differs from a leisurely stroll or walk because the pace, performance level and pulse rate are increased to a level where you breathe more deeply yet can still breathe without huffing or puffing. You should be able to carry on a light conversation. Carrying small hand weights or water bottles in your hands in addition to a back pack with some weight helps increase the level of difficulty and intensity thus improving your cardio vascular benefits.
You can easily adjust the weight in each area as you progress. This increased load will help engage, maintain and tone more of the upper body which is usually not well activated during a normal walk. Power walking helps to provide a full body workout in the same time that it takes to enjoy a normal walk.
After several months of power walking and to gain even more benefits, you can turn it into a high intensity interval training. This is done by walking briskly and pumping the hand weights for 30 seconds, and then slow it down a bit and relax the arms for 90 seconds to recover a bit before going back to a brisk pace for 30 seconds. The goal is to repeat this cycle for 8 repetitions. It may take some time to reach this level and it is important to start out with only a partially full water bottle and light weight in the back pack. Really focus on deep breathing to empty and fill the lungs for optimal benefits.
There are many combinations and variations of arm exercises to utilize. Some examples include: normal swing, exaggerated swing, biceps curl, military press, triceps press, lateral raises, ski pole motion, arm rotations and more. They can be done with each arm moving separately in the opposite position or both arms can move in tandem at the same time.
Check Your Posture & Gait
Be sure to check your foot alignment, gait, muscle activation and overall posture from your toes to the position of your head. It is extremely important that you have great posture and over all alignment in order to enhance your development and training. Many times people walk with their head leaning to far forward which puts strain on the back and neck. The head should be upright with the eyes looking more forward than down and the shoulders pulled back a bit. The spine should be erect and not contorted
Some people have a tendency to walk like a duck with the toes pointing outward a bit. The feet should be shoulder width apart and the feet should be parallel to each other. The best way to determine your foot placement is to walk barefoot in the sand at a beach. This will give valuable clues to your stride and foot placement. Walking barefoot at the beach or in grass is great for strengthening the foot muscles and reconnecting to the earth. When you are going for a power walk select a level and safe walking path so you feel comfortable and secure in your footing.
Over time, many seniors begin taking shorter steps which inhibits their full range of motion and restricts the ligaments, muscles and tendons. It is especially important for them to extent their step to maintain a normal gait and help retain their balance and stability. Power walking is very valuable for seniors to easily enjoy a full body work out as they enjoy time outdoors with family and friends.
It is also important to be able to walk backwards and side ways to develop better balance and stability. Using hiking poles or ski poles are other great enhancements can add a safety factor as well as add spice and variety to your power walking.
It is a great idea to practice walking backwards and sideways several times a week for better agility, awareness, balance, flexibility and overall muscle tone. Be sure to start safely and slowly with these new motions. Most people only walk forward and this can lead to an imbalance and limitations to overall flexibility and range of motion. The more you can mix it up and move in different directions and engage more sensory acuity and awareness the better off you will be.
Accidents are one of the greatest risks to adults and seniors. Power walking and doing different exercise and fitness routines like lunges and squats are some of the best prevention strategies to reduce the risk of falling. Many people go down hill after a bad fall especially if a bone is broken so it is essential to develop the power walking habit for life.
Adding lunges and squats to power walking also helps by adding greater demand and variety. Carrying small hand weights and a well designed back pack while doing them as well as walking and power walking will greatly enhance the over all benefits.
This Great NEWS post regarding Power Walking Strategy: Powerful Wellness System is easy to learn and can greatly improve your overall health and well being. Are you ready to step up and step out for a nice power walk to exercise every muscle in your body at the same time? As an ongoing series from the post on Maintaining Alignment, Muscles and Posture you have another great strategy. Enjoy this 10 week series inspired from Maintaining Alignment, Muscles and Posture to improve your long term health and peak performance by applying Power Walking Strategy: Powerful Wellness System.
What is your current Gap?
How are you doing with maintaining alignment, muscles and posture? How often do you engage in power walking?
Mastery Action Plan (MAP)
You now have enough information to start a power walking routine 3 to 4 times a week. The book Heavyhands by Leonard Schwartz, M.D. is a great resource to learn more power walking tips.
Call to Action
What comments, commitments or questions do you have regarding power walking?
Next week the Great NEWS blog will share: