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.