Ultimate exercise secrets Part 1January 18, 2009
Power walking is your way to total fitness
In order to live a full and satisfying life you must be in good physical and mental shape. If you are not ambulatory and able to get where you want to go in life you tend not to go anywhere. Back in the fifties when I grew up, my introduction to weight bearing exercise came from a publication called Strength And Health. It was published by the York Barbell Company and its publisher Bob Hoffman was an original exercise guru. One of his quotes never left me. He said ‘Your legs are your most valuable tool, they ultimately propel you thru life.’ Most people don’t realize the value of working their legs until they end up retiring or in a nursing home, and then its too late. Most nursing home residents are confined to a wheel chair, their legs no longer supporting them. This leads me into the first part of this article.
Walking is the ultimate fitness exercise for most of us, however certain rules should be followed when undertaking a walking regimen. First, it is a good idea to walk in proper clothing and wear special shoes and socks. As a kid, when I thought that I could fly, I would first put on my Superman outfit. Once properly uniformed I would let my imagination run free and visualize myself flying. Although I never left the ground, in my mind I was soaring.
Socks are never given enough importance in walking articles, however in order to stop blisters from forming while on a long walk, definitely get a couple of pair of double layer socks like ‘wrightsock’ to insure comfort.
Shoes are next. Check out your local runners shop, not a large chain mall store, but one where they will analyze your stride and give you superior fitting shoes. You may prefer a running shoe with a lot of cushioning for your walks or a walking shoe which gives you more connection with the ground.
Walking clothing should be lightweight and breathable with at least one pocket, and sunglasses can be an indispensible
addition. If the weather is cool wear a breathable outer jacket that will allow you to remove it and tie it around your waist as you continue walking.
Now for the actual walk. If outdoors, find a suitable place to do your walk. I usually drive over to a local school and walk on their track. If you must walk in the street, always walk facing traffic. Wear a watch to time your walks. If indoors, a treadmill is the only way to go. With a treadmill you can keep track of your speed and distance. Try to build up to a speed of 3.5-4.0 miles per hour after a suitable warm up of 5-10 minutes, and don’t forget a 5-10 minute cool down. Your total ideal workout should be one hour seven days a week. Always vary the elevation of the treadmill during your walk to insure building a strong back. Walking should be done with arms pumping in order to get a full body workout and increase your speed. Remember you are walking for your life. If necessary you can hold onto the treadmill rails, however by not holding onto the rails you will build your balance. If you are incapacitated and you can afford it, have a harness installed to build fitness and strength.
Many people would say that walking is not a spiritual practice, however by counting your strides from 1-10 and repeating your count when you reach 10, either out loud or to yourself, you can turn your walk into a moving meditation. Bear in mind that this is best done on a treadmill or track where you don’t have to think about where you are going. With constant practice you will experience a state of euphoria and connection with all there is.