Dr. Valerie Girard
Cardio-Walking for Fitness
Almost anyone can walk, even if it is around the block. My 82-year-old mother has been walking a mile, twice a day for years. Walking contributes to cardio fitness, especially if there is an incline or the walk is taken at a fast pace that increases the heart rate.
Cardio-Walking relaxes the whole body, thereby reducing blood pressure and strengthens the heart. In addition, it increases bone density, activates your metabolism and regulates blood sugar when combined with a healthy diet. Many people feel a high right after their walk, making it the perfect antidote for stress. It also seems to help people recover from illness or injury by increasing circulation.
Did I mention weight loss? I knew someone who lost 15 pounds in 4 months by walking 45 minutes everyday.
Here are my favorite tips for maintaining an anti-aging cardio-walking routine.
1. Optimize Your Workout. Pick a route, walk it and time yourself. See if you can shorten the time by a few seconds. When you are going at a cardio blasting pace, then increase the length of your walk. Try walking a minimum of three times a week, gradually getting up to six times a week.
2. Stay Hydrated. Drink some water before you walk and remember to hydrate well afterwards. If it is hot weather, bring water with you and sip every ten minutes or as thirst requires.
3. Walk in area that has more hills. The greater the incline, the more you build your cardio-fitness. If you live in an area with hiking trails, consider hiking as a means to fitness that will provide you with a dose of serenity. No hills? How about stairs? These will strengthen your legs and tone up your gluteal area.
4. Establish a feasible goal. When you decide to start your walking program, pick a goal that challenges you but is not beyond your reach.
5. Indoor Cardio. In areas where inclement weather prevails, there are gyms that offer treadmills and cross-training cardio equipment. If these are new to you, ask a fitness trainer for advice on maximizing your workout.
6.Walking Shoes. It is important to have a pair of good walking shoes. If you have joint issues, get adjusted to stay in alignment. I never exercise without my pair of orthotics in so that I avoid stressing my joints. I prefer Foot-Levelers for their comfort and shock absorption.
7. Music. Include some active music that has a great beat to inspire you to pick up the pace when you walk. If you are able, make a mix of music that motivates you. You can even listen to recorded lectures or books. This will inspire you look forward to your walking workouts.
8. Increase your distance with a mental rehearsal. After engaging in a walk, sit or lie down and visualize walking the entire route again in as much detail as possible. Imagine yourself enjoying it. The next time you walk, your subconscious will believe it already has walked double the distance. You will easily want to walk a few more blocks. This visualization technique helps you to increase your endurance.
9. Nature. If possible, walk where there are trees, water or beautiful vistas. Being in nature will calm your mind and allow you an extra boost to the cardio high many people experience.
10. Walking Partner. Encourage a friend to join you on a cardio walk. Walking and talking is good exercise! Keep your goal of fitness in mind and challenge each other to keep up the pace. Of course the best walking partner is a dog, which will motivate you daily to get up and GO!
Begin your anti-aging now with the idea of regaining lost ground and getting a vibrant glow to your skin. Tone up, get fit and get excited about your next Cardio-Walk!