DVD PowerWalking Made Easy

PowerWalking Made Easy

"PowerWalking Made Easy"

walkingBy Patti Joyce

Good Posture is Vital - Proper posture and correct body alignment are the most important aspects of any activity, even when you’re walking your dog. Visualize aligning your head centered over you shoulders, hips and knees. Lift up through your center, lightly squeeze your shoulder blades back and pull in your abdominal region. This is the key to keeping your lower back supported. Keep your head up without letting your chin drop to your chest. With some practice you will create a healthy habit by maintaining good posture throughout your day!

Heel, Ball, Toe, Lets Roll - Plant your heel, rock forward onto the ball of your foot and push off through your toes. Yes, only one foot at a time! The heel, ball, toe technique helps to lengthen your stride and burns more calories. Think about walking with a purpose and push your energy forward. PowerWalking is taking big steps without the wiggling hips or funny looks!

Bend Your Knees Please - Let's talk about how to save your joints from overuse and wear and tear for a lifetime. Don't intentionally lock the knee when extending your lead (front) leg forward. Your lead leg should extend in a natural position before your heel strikes the ground.  Put a slight emphasis on the outer edge of your foot to take pressure off your knees. Ask a knowledgeable professional to watch your form and give you some feedback.

Your Legs are Energy Pumps - Did you know that your legs are the most powerful muscles in your body?  When PowerWalking, think of your legs as pumps. PowerWalking increases the heart rate, gets the blood and oxygen flowing and improves the cardiovascular system. For safety reasons, you shouldn't stop abruptly during high intensity exercise as it may cause dizziness. Remember to cool down gradually by slowing your pace for 3 – 5 minutes.

Tone Your Abdominals - You can tone your abdominals while you are PowerWalking!  Push your hips forward one at a time and feel your abdominal region working. Don't over stride or take a large step that can over stress your hip. Do what feels natural for your body.

Power Pump Your Arms  - Pumping your arms during PowerWalking helps to tone the upper body increases the heart rate and burns more calories. Let your arms swing naturally from your shoulders, then try a slight bend in the elbows at about waist level. Keep your shoulders down and hands cupped loosely to lower tension build up in the upper body.

Breath Easy and Stay Focused - To determine how hard you are working, check out your breathing. Can you carry on light conversation or maybe a little singing, if you are alone? If so, you are on the right track! Be aware that you may be training to intensely if you can't even say your own name. If you are doing more stopping than walking, you may need to review how you spend your precious time. Bottom line, you determine you're own health and fitness goals.

Pace Yourself - How long does it take you to walk a mile? To get a baseline, time yourself on a track (4 laps) for one mile. Here are some general guidelines for keeping the pace. Strolling is considered a18 -20 minute mile. Brisk walking is 16-17 minute miles. PowerWalking is 10-15 minute miles. Racewalking is six to nine minute miles; champion athletes do even better! Don't try to increase your pace and distance at the same time. The chances of injury decrease when you give your body time to recover and adjust to a new challenge. Mix in some days when you take time to smell the flowers or take a stroll on the beach!

Healthy and Mindful Benefits - When do you find time in your day to take a mental break? Notice how much clearer you think with a change in your surroundings.  Allow yourself to think only positive thoughts while you are PowerWalking.  If negativity creeps in, pick a word, slogan or mantra that will bring your thoughts back to positive. Greet the people that you see along your path with a smile. Let go and let the good happen in you life!

Motivation is Power - Pick from this list of ways to stay motivated. Make an appointment with yourself or a friend to PowerWalk on a regular basis.  Even a 10 minute walk is a good start. You are creating a positive habit that will stay with you for a lifetime. Journal your successes in a daily planner. Reward yourself and your dog with a treat for a job well done!

Be Patient - If you are starting a new exercise, program or think or have a health risk, consult with your doctor. Then follow these steps in order of importance: focus on posture, technique, rhythm and then pace. Be patient with the learning process. Incorporate a few or all of these PowerWalking techniques. There is no other form of aerobic exercise that you can do anywhere and has a low injury rate!