Walking is a lot of fun and a great source of exercise and physical fitness. However, to get the most out of your walking, here are some tips to help you become a smart walker and, therefore, getting the most out of your walks.
Don’t forget to warm up
Nothing feels better than getting out for a nice walk and soaking up the sunshine and warm weather you’ve waited for all winter long. However, before you strap on your walking shoes and start out, it’s very important that you do some warm up exercises for walking.
Believe me; you can have some very serious consequences if you don’t! Sore feet, blisters, bunions are just a few of the discomforts that a good warm up can eliminate. Whether you’re a seasoned walker or are just beginning, you still need to give you body a chance to warm up by doing a few simple exercises for walking.
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There are some very simple exercises for walking you can do that will target the muscles what are used the most in walking. Lucky for you, they can all be done standing up and they’re quite comfortable. .
Two of the exercises involve standing on one foot. In the first one, you lift the other foot off the floor and flex your ankle very slowly, doing circles with your toes. Make sure you use the full range of motion and only move your ankle joint, not the leg. Do this exercise 6 times on each leg.
In the other exercise, swing your other leg from the hip. Swing it very loosely front to back in a relaxed motion, making sure your foot is not higher than 12 inches from the floor. Do this 15 to 20 times with each leg.
Put your hands on your hips with your knees slightly bent and feet shoulder width apart. Keep your body upright. Make 10 slow, continuous circles with your hips, pushing them gently forward, to the left, back, and to the right. Then reverse directions and repeat.
Arm circle Exercises
Hold both arms straight out to the sides. Make 10 to 12 slow backward circles with your hands, starting small and finishing with large circles, using your entire arm. Shake your arms out, then repeat with 10 to 12 forward circles again, starting small and getting larger.
Up, side, back, Rest.
- This is ideal if you have shin soreness while walking. Stand with feet hip width apart and roll your feet through four positions, holding each for a count of two:
- Up. Stand on your toes, heels as high as possible.
- Side. Roll to the outside edges of your feet, with the inside edges pulled up.
- Back. Stand on your heels, with your toes held as high as possible.
- Rest. With both feet flat on the floor.
Exercises to do While Walking
There are several exercises for walking to tone up your arms and Butt. You need to walk about 5 minutes before starting any of these. First there is the skate walk. This will tone up your butt muscles much more than walking normally. You use the same motions as when you are skating, by leaning forward a little and moving first the right foot out in a 45 degree direction while dipping down a little, then do the other foot. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and make a fist and swing your arms in time with your strides. This takes a little practice but will really tone your butt and help tone your arms.
Also for your arms you can make a fist and do punches either up 45 degrees or straight out, or both. There is also a weight harness you can wear that you can add weight (up to 20% of your body weight) that will give you a better workout in a shorter time.
Cooling Down is Equally Important
As important as it is to warm up with exercises for walking before you start, it’s equally important to be sure to properly cool down afterwards. I know you’re tired and stimulated from your walk but you’ll be glad you took the time to cool down and your body will thank you.
Stand very still with both feet together and bend your knees slightly. Letting your arms and head hang down loosely towards the floor, lean forward from the waist. You’ll be almost in the position as if you were going to touch your toes but you’re not. While you’re in that down position, allow your body to stretch and exhale, then stand up very slowly.
With your right hand, grab onto your right toes and pull your foot up and behind you, making sure to keep your right knee facing the ground. Pull your heel towards your buttocks until you feel a slight stretch in your front thigh, shin and hip. While you’re doing this, take deep breaths and hold them. Do this on both legs.