Walking Track Basics
It is common knowledge that walking is an easy and fast way to get your blood flowing and to burn calories. To start getting healthy by walking, find your favorite place to take a stroll. Walking locations include parks, public spaces like malls, and indoor or outdoor walking tracks. The location you choose to walk in should be peaceful, safe and easy to navigate. Be sure to fully hydrate before you go out on a long walk and take water with you. Your body needs water in order to deliver oxygen to your cells, remove waste, and protect your muscles and bones. To see how fast you walk, track your time from start to finish. If you find that your walks are taking up too much of your time, try walking faster which will get you home sooner and burn more calories. Be choosy about the shoes you wear while walking. Walking shoes should be comfortable and supportive. Have an expert size your shoes. Also take in to account what type of surface you will most often be walking on. If you are walking in a park, you could be trekking through dirty trails or trails with a lot of root growth which may mean you need more of a hiking/walking shoe. If your chosen location is a mall, you'll be walking on cement and will need extra cushion to prevent shin splints. To prevent muscle soreness and injury, you should also stretch before and after any walk. Additionally, try walking with a partner or a group. You can support and keep each other company. Get some fresh air today and go for a walk in a nearby park, public space or track.
Walking with Weights
There are so many walking products on the market these days, including pedometers and walking weights. It is hard to discern what you need and how to use it properly. The general consensus is that walking with weights presents a greater chance of injury than actual health benefits. Whether they are hand and ankle weights or walking weight packs, any product should be used with care and additionally discussed with a fitness professional or doctor. The Mayo Clinic suggests that instead of walking with ankle weights which "can change your normal gait, may cause you to lose your balance or hurt yourself while you're walking," you should just pick up your pace or walk a farther distance. A quicker pace and longer strides at greater distances are simple and inexpensive ways to pump up the aerobic quality of walking.
Pedometers are small calculators that track the number of steps you take by sensing movement. Pedometers can be attached to your ankle, waist or shoe. Depending on the pedometer, they also calculate distance covered, calories burned, speed, steps per minute and elapsed time. When deciding on what type of pedometer to buy, you want to make sure it's going to be comfortable, has a safety clip, will not easily shatter and has a screen that is easy to read. You can wear the pedometer all day or only when you are going for a long walk. The average person walks somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 steps per day. By tracking and then increasing your steps, you can work towards burning more calories more often. Start by wearing your pedometer from your first step of the day until your last. Collect the total number of steps you've taken each day; at the end of three days, calculate your average number of steps. This will give you a framework for your walking/exercise plan. There are many walking programs and step diets. With the information from your pedometer, you can log into FitLink and track your steps everyday on the FitLink exercise log/journal. Share your weight goals or health objectives with others. You could even start a walking group in your area. Your group and you can visit local tracks or parks to find your favorite walking routes.
What is Racewalking?
If you have ever seen racewalking in action, you may have thought that it looks silly and clumsy. However, racewalking is a serious athletic sport that involves great fluidity, control and stamina. People often come to racewalking after a running injury or to get toned and fit faster. In racewalking, contact with the ground is made at all times. As the heel hits the ground, weight is transferred forward to the ball of the foot. When the ball of the foot is placed on the ground, the heel can be lifted. The knee must also be straight when the heel strikes the ground. Racewalkers move faster than you would imagine. An advanced, professional racewalker can finish a 20k (12.4 mile) race in 1 hr. and 20 minutes, faster than many runners. To find out more about racewalking and its techniques, look for websites about the North American Racewalking Foundation or the North American Racewalking Institute.