Walking as an effective, fun, and gratifying way to keep fit. If you are underestimating its value then you are possibly losing out on a very effective way to stay fit, and boost your wellness quotient.
Walking is a very convenient, helpful, and easy to follow form of exercise; in fact, there is probably no other form of exercise that is as adaptable and easy to follow as walking.
Plus this low-impact aerobic activity comes naturally to everyone - you begin in the childhood and carry on forever.
There is no doubt that it delivers immense health paybacks. It’s a great way to feel strong, fit and absolutely in control of your health.
Besides being a good cardiovascular workout for building and increasing stamina, improving lung capacity, strengthening the heart, and making the skin and hair look good (thanks to improved blood circulation), walking also improves brain function and memory, and helps lower the risk of depression, and Alzheimer's disease.
Finally, it is an effective way to source the much needed vitamin D that we need to stay well.
Regular walking is good enough but there are ways to make it pay back even more (and be more exciting too). Read on to know how.
Nordic Pole Walking
Mimicking the motion of cross-country skiing by using poles to push yourself as you walk along a trail or sidewalk is called Nordic walking.
This is a fitness trend worldwide, and for good reason as besides being a good cardio workout, it also involves a vigorous muscle workout of the shoulders, arms, core, and legs leading to a substantial calorie-burning benefit.
It's strenuous and is known to deliver lowered body fat, waist size, bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, increased good (HDL cholesterol) and muscle strength, and better mood and quality of life. Plus it’s supposedly fun.
Fasted Morning Nature Walk
This has two elements to it. First getting the steps in before you eat breakfast, and second walking in nature, outside (rather than the gym).
Both work in tandem to keep one energised, active, alert throughout the day, and also utilise free fatty acids on an empty stomach (great for shrinking the belly fat).
In fact, this is the best time to move the body and strengthen the soul, in one shot as walking at this time not just helps one connect with one's internal energy and feed it, but also hones clarity in thought and being.
Plus, this is a practical decision too as this is the time when oxygen is the cleanest, air the least polluted as trees are at their efficient best forming oxygen using the early sun rays, and the noise pollution at its lowest too.
Earthing and Grounding
Walking barefoot on soil, grass or sand, also known as earthing has many takers worldwide and is known to deliver many remarkable health advantages.
A number of studies showcase that when we walk barefoot then drawing electrons from the earth improves health. Earthing also helps prevent cell clumping, which leads to lowered blood viscosity (a significant risk factor for heart disease).
Besides, walking like this is gentle, nourishing, and helps release mind-boosting endorphins. It is a win-win situation benefiting both physical as well as mental wellness.
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This essentially is regular walking done with a greater exaggeration of the arms and stride length. This helps create more breaking forces in each stride leading to more calories being burnt. Also keeps the heart rate elevated and is less stressful on the joints than running or jogging. Plus this kind of walking is very effective to tone the buttocks, thighs, hips, shoulders, upper back and abs.
Do the Power Walk
When it is done right power walking can blast away fat as fast as jogging - maybe faster. So follow these pointers:
Work on your pace, increase it slowly but steadily
Take quick heel-ball-toe steps(more efficient and less tiring than long strides).
Hold your head high - raise your chin up and look about 10 feet ahead.
Instead of hanging your arms loosely by your sides, bend the elbows 90 degrees, close your hands in relaxed fists, and swing them in an arc from your waist to your chest, keeping them close to your body. This way you'll walk faster, burn more calories, and build upper body strength.
Cross Training Walk
Always try to put something extra in the walk: introduce some jogging, skipping and self challenging in between.
For example jog 20 steps, walk 30 steps, go up and down a bench a couple of times, walk again and the maybe skip (without a rope) a bit. This is a good way to engage the lungs better and use maximum number of muscles. You can also incorporate jumping up and down the footpath, or do a few pull ups on the swing.
While walking, you can work on the core by holding your breath and tensing the abs, at intervals or do sit-ups in between walking to strengthen and tone the stomach muscles. Also try and do back walk (walk the centre line back on the road (improves balance and concentration).
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