You have to hand it to several women from Ontario Racewalkers, who took the first five places in the Senior Women’s 10KWalk Championship at the recent Art Keay Memorial Racewalk in June. You may not reach that level of competence in speed walking, but you can give yourself a medal for gaining the many other benefits of this simple and effective exercise.
Brisk walking has been shown to help you lose weight, prevent peripheral artery disease and osteoporosis, and even cause you to have fewer colds. Best of all, it can improve your mood and sense of well-being. It’s a natural high, and who wouldn’t want that?
This is not just a stroll around the block, though. Speed walking involves certain techniques that increase its effectiveness. You should hold your head up, but keep your neck, back and shoulders relaxed. You can bend your arms slightly, and they should swing freely as you walk. Tighten your tummy muscles a little, and keep your back straight, with no forward or backward arch. Stride out evenly and smoothly, rolling from heel to toe with each foot strike, and gradually increase your speed until you get your heart pumping.
Before you start, make sure you have a pair of shoes that fits well, has good arch and heel support, and fully cushioned soles. Wear bright clothing or reflective tape if you walk at night, and choose a route with a safe, even surface. Start with a few minutes of slow walking, then build up your speed and technique for a good workout, ending with a cool-down walk for a few minutes. Remember to stretch out tightened muscles when you get home again.
There are many beautiful places to walk in the Owen Sound, Collingwood, and Barrie areas. For more walking tips, and for excellent podiatric care when you need it, contact Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic at (705) 444-9929. You can also keep in touch on Twitter and Facebook, and share your favorite walking routes on our Pinterest page.
Photo credit: stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net