3 ways to enhance your walking workouts

“All steps count. But some count a little more than others,” says Dr. Edward Phillips, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. For example, if you add short bursts of fast walking to your strolls, that elevates your heart rate and improves your cardiorespiratory fitness more than if you simply stayed at a slower pace, he says. Pick up a pair of Nordic poles to use during your walk, and you’ll engage many more muscles and burn more calories. Or you can use walking as an opportunity to practice mindfulness, a mind-calming practice that can help you release stress.

Following are suggestions about how and where you might try these techniques.

Interval walking

Dr. Phillips recommends this routine only for more experienced walkers, not beginners. For interval walking, you alternate brief bursts of fast walking with more moderately paced strides. After a five-minute warm-up, walk briskly for 15, 30, or 60 seconds. Then slow down and recover at a normal pace for an equal amount of time (or you may want to double your recovery time). Start with shorter intervals of rapid walking and gradually lengthen them as you increase your stamina over the following weeks and months. Or you can keep the intervals constant and extend your overall workout time. “A smartwatch programmed to beep at set times comes in handy, but a $10 watch with a second hand also works,” says Dr. Phillips. Alternatively, you can use landmarks instead of time to mark your intervals. For example, walk briskly for one or two city blocks, between two telephone poles, or a quarter of a lap around a local track.

Nordic walking

Nordic walking uses special poles with hand straps that help you engage your upper body. The motion is similar to cross-country skiing, with the poles slanted back behind you as you walk. These workouts may boost your cardiovascular workload and calorie burn up to 25% more than regular walking.

If you’d like to try out the poles, ask around in your neighborhood, because chances are someone has a dusty pair in the garage, says Dr. Phillips. But if you purchase them at an outdoor store, an employee can help you adjust the height and give you a quick primer on how to use them. Most have metal tips (for use on trails) and attachable rubber tips for use on asphalt or concrete.

Mindful walking

If the idea of sitting to meditate doesn’t grab you, perhaps walking meditation — also called mindful walking — is more your speed. The goal is to focus on the present moment without worrying about the past or future. Calming your mind in this way may help ease stress — and excess stress is a well-known contributor to high blood pressure and other cardio­vascular conditions.

Walk in a familiar place, but pay close attention to all the sights, sounds, and smells around you. If you prefer, you can focus on your breathing. As you walk, match your breath to your steps, inhaling smoothly for four steps, then exhaling smoothly for four steps. Do this for a few minutes, then try extending the number of steps per breath, in and out for six paces each breath for several minutes, and then to eight. See which breath pattern (four, six, or eight) feels most comfortable, and stick with that for a while. Near the end of your walk, switch back to a leisurely stroll and just breathe normally.

If you have the opportunity, try walking close to water — the ocean, a river, lake, or pond — as these locations tend to encourage relaxation, Dr. Phillips suggests. Another option, labyrinth walking, can be especially helpful for evoking a meditative state, he says. A pattern of paths that weave in a circle around a central point (see photo), a labyrinth encourages slow, mindful steps. You can find labyrinths in many places, including public parks, houses of worship, and health care facilities such as hospitals and hospices.

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

2 Corinthians 10:15-16 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Ephesians 1:17-18 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 3:16-19 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, read more.

Colossians 1:10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

1 Thessalonians 4:10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,

Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,

1 Thessalonians 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;

2 Peter 1:7-8 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Recommended contacts for prayer request and Bible study








It Is Written

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons