SP Premium
30,000-39,999 SparkPoints 34,362

Getting the Most Out of Your Walk-Out - 7 Tips

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Far be it for me to post a how-to blog about the technique of some basic form of exercise. Sparky is chock full of how-do blogs and videos from authoritative sources, such as "Coach Nicole" and her minions. You expect more from me. Rightfully so. More pointedly, you do not need such drivel from the likes of me. You certainly don't need non-expert advice. So why are you even reading this?

This news story from the non-Spark health-and-nutrition internet (yes, that does still exist) did catch my eye and I thought I would share. It's about walking. Most of us learned this sometime around the age of one or a little thereafter. But the question is, did we learn it well? Correctly? Efficiently from an exercise perspective? Maybe not.

Here it is: www.usatoday.com/story/n

As the days get colder and shorter and we soon will be commuting both directions in the dark (I despise the switch to Standard Time, but that is another blog, is it not?), more and more of us exercise indoors, at least during the week. For my money, outdoors is the preferred way because its more interesting (and ideally for me, wet in a chlorinated sort of way), but that's not always possible particularly, as Gordon Lightfoot reminds us every year at this time of year, when the Gales of November come early. (Go ahead, sing it in your head "...with a crew and good captain well seasoned..." I digress.

So they have all those shiny new treadmills at the gym. The ones in front of the TV, tuned to ESPN whether its baseball season (yay!) or not (ho-hum). How to get the most our of our half-hour or so atop one? Well this article provides some insights as follows:

• Start with good posture. Stand tall (fundamentally I do not "do" tall), shoulders back, no sway in your lower back, head up and eyes on the horizon (or on Hannah Storm of ESPN!). This opens your chest for easier breathing and removes tension from the shoulders and neck. It also brings hips into a better position for a powerful stride.

• Focus on quicker steps. Don't force a longer stride. Let that come naturally. But consciously picking up the step rate will help you boost the speed and intensity of the workout.

• Keep your arms bent at a 90-degree angle at the elbow, like a runner (who, me? square pegs and round holes), for a compact, quick arm swing, he says. It helps you take quicker steps, and there's evidence that a vigorous arm swing increases your caloric expenditure.

• Push vigorously off your toes at the end of every step. That lengthens your stride, works the calf muscles more and propels the leg forward into the next step.

Well, that was about half-helpful. Here are my approaches:

1. I walk as fast as I can without gasping for air.
2. I set is as steeply as I can comfortably accommodate without gasping for air.
3. I walk for a half hour at minimum; 45 minutes when time allows.
4. I use the digital readouts to keep mental score on myself. I try to beat personal bests for split times, etc.
5. If I don't break a sweat, it's not efficient exercise.
6. I down three cups of Sparky water during the course of the process, at minimum.
7. I have (what I believe to be, anyway) the correct shoes and socks. A convoy is as fast as its slowest ship, and if your personal equipment is not shipshape, you will not be either.

Now I prefer the elliptical or Arc-trainer, but those treadmills are so new and shiny, so here you go.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    But the gales of November remember.
    2445 days ago
    emoticon to keep me from going nuts I did 20 minutes on the treadmill
    20 on the recumbent bike 20 elliptical and finish up using a new piece equipment called the octaine a combination bike tread mill in one for 20 that way you don't get board and you get you time in before you know it. and a few extra allowing for cooling down on each. thankd for the link and you tips. emoticon
    2445 days ago
    I actually tried walking fast through the house to see if I was "Pushing vigorously off my toes at the end of every step" .... and, sadly, I found that every step, even my fast steps, appeared more like Herman Monster steps.

    Oh well ... I still get to where I need to go. emoticon

    Enjoyed your blog!
    2445 days ago
    I do the treadmill thing myself. 15 degrees at or near 4 mph for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Sweating is not a problem, the clean up afterward is a bigger hassle!
    2445 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    YEs, Sunday night is he DST change,I hate it with a passion..

    I only have a treadmill, but must rely on it besides my cardio at work or endure the pain of slogging through three-six foot drifts for my walks all winter,, snow, slush,ice and sliding vehicles o n the roads around here. My tread is in the basement so no tv there, but radio and a good book...

    as far as the Edmund Fitzgerald, i view it every year on my trek to the Yoopee to Whitefish Point where it sank. Very good song and they play it on a loop.
    2445 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/31/2013 1:59:55 PM
    What exactly is Sparky water?


    All kidding aside, good blog!
    2445 days ago
    Thanks for the tips and for a great start to my morning.

    I'm with you on that Standard Time thing.
    2445 days ago
    I use an elliptical, and I can attest that bending and using my arms significantly increases my steps per minute rate. I hadn't thought about pushing off with the toes in a long time. I do that when in "mile munching mode" outside. Thanks for the refresher course. emoticon
    2445 days ago
    Singing it out loud! LOL ALMOST got to see Gordon in concert many, many moons ago. Alas, he was too schnockered to perform. Surprising, eh! Maybe not.

    Colder, darker days -- sucky (or with the rain today, ducky). BUT at least it's not snowing!

    LOL! At 4 ft. 10.5 in. I don't do tall either! That made me laugh.

    Tread vs. elliptical. . . treadmill wins for me, just because I can change the the slope and speed to be challenged.

    OK, the article was really good! Lots of helpful hints, and yours too, actually. I pump my arms as I walk as this tends to speed up my stride.

    Great blog. You da man!
    2445 days ago
    Very good! And I do a lot of walks with Leslie Sansone.
    2445 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this
    2445 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2445 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.