Walking: Safest, Simplest, Best Form of Exercise (part 2)
by La Rue Briggs
Now, in reference to world-class Olympic athletes trying to achieve their lofty
objectives of winning gold medals and other awards, learning to push themselves
beyond the manifold barriers that stand in the way of victory is a relevant concept.
But it's an immaterial concept with regard to normal body conditioning. Besides feeling
and looking great, here, one's focus is on sound internal health, physical strength and
a long, productive life.

All the same, even though walking at a tortoise-like pace will get you from point A to
point B without shattering your laid-back image and producing sweat, to elevate your
heart rate to a cardiovascular fitness level you're going to have to expend some
energy in your walking motion. Yet, with no more than a spirited arm swing and an
accelerated stride, you can attain a significantly higher heart rate.

In fact, to make a walking program an effective one, many doctors and trainers
recommend that walkers walk for at least 30 minutes a minimum of three times a
week while maintaining a certain target heart rate.

However, if your heart rate overly exceeds the pre-determined target heart rate, it
could mean that too much stress is being placed on the body. Conversely, if your
heart rate falls well below the pre-determined target heart rate, your pace won't be
sufficient for a good aerobic workout. Consequently, it is very important that walkers
are knowledgeable about and are able to correctly estimate their exercising heart
rates.

A simple way to figure out your target heart rate is to take the number 220 and
subtract your age. The remainder represents your maximum heart rate. Your goal
now is to begin exercising at some percentage of this number. Typically, for people
who haven't taken part in vigorous exercise for a while, the percentage of your
maximum heart rate will be around 55 to 65 percent; and for people who are hale
and hearty, the percentage of your maximum heart rate will be around 70 to 80
percent.

As an example, if you're 40 years old, you would subtract that from 220 and find your
maximum heart rate is 180. Assuming you're one of the hale and hearty people, you
would then multiply 180 by .70 and get 126.00. Thus, you should be walking at a
pace that will cause your heart to beat at a rate of 126 to 135 beats a minute.

For a person having difficulty taking his or her exercising heart rate, the easiest places
to count it are the radial artery on the wrist and the carotid artery on the side of the
neck. Use the first and second fingers of the hand and place them on the thumb side
of your wrist or place these same two fingers on the opposite side of your neck. Take
your pulse for 15 seconds, then multiply by four.

After successfully completing at least eight weeks of diligent, progressively vigorous,
injury-free walking, you may now consider making your training regimen a little
tougher.

Through walking, you have made your leg muscles stronger, yet to this point your
upper body has been virtually ignored. By carrying one to five pound hand weights
while walking, you will not only tone up your arms but heighten the intensity of your
workout as well. Furthermore, walking up and down hills, walking in sand at the
beach, and ascending and descending flights of stairs are some other ways to
challenge and strengthen the muscles of the feet and legs as well as the heart and
lungs. Additionally, you will be pleased to know that by increasing your efforts you'll
also be able to burn up more of those fat grams that produce a large number of
calories and, as a result, extra body weight.

Later on, when you've become really fit, "speed walking" (i.e., walking at a
12-minute-a-mile pace) can be the next mountain to climb in your ambulatory
adventure. Though speed walkers may look peculiar as they move, speed-walking is
actually a much greater challenge than jogging at the same speed because the
muscles must work harder to hold the fast-walking pace without breaking into a jog.

Nonetheless, since one's target heart rate and the duration and intensity of a walking
program varies according to age, weight, hereditary background and other factors,
you first should go to a medical professional for a checkup and more detailed
information regarding the most appropriate walking program for you.
© La Rue Briggs - All Rights Reserved.


About The Author

La Rue Briggs

As a nationally certified fitness instructor, La Rue conducted exercise and bodybuilding
classes for the YMCA and other organizations. La Rue also was an instructor/trainer
for the Michigan Heart Association, a board member of the Metropolitan Detroit Health
Education Council, and a member of the YMCA Physical Education Committee. La Rue
is a Detroit native with a BA in English from Wayne State University.
Visit web site
.

Walking: Safest, Simplest, Best Form of Exercise (Part 1)
continued...

Although, at the outset the body
may rebel against your attempts
to whip it into shape and leave
you tired, stiff and sore after
workouts. But this unpleasant
fact of exercising is tempered by
realizing that these minor
discomforts are temporary. Once
you become accustomed to
working out regularly, exercising
vigorously will be easier to do,
and the minor discomforts will all
but cease to exist.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only.  Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise
program.
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