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May 28, 2013

Walking an underrated form of exercise

(Continued)

PEDOMETER

A pedometer is a motion-sensing device, typically worn at the hip, that records walking data. 

This self-monitoring tool will help you keep track of your total steps and distance walked. One activity scale that depicts various levels of walking (in steps daily) shows that 0-5,000 is sedentary, 5,000-7,499 is low active, 7,500-9,999 is somewhat active, 10,000-12,500 is active and 12,500 or more is highly active. 

It is important to notice that this merely measures steps and does not include other non-ambulatory activity throughout the day. For healthy adults, a daily goal should be 10,000 steps per day (about 5 miles). 

If you are currently below this, progress your steps by 1,000 per day every two weeks until you reach your 10,000 steps per day.

IMPROVISE

Try walking different routes, while mixing in hills for terrain variation. Also, incorporate some interval training into the program by varying the pace. Some examples could include power and speed walking. 

In order to maintain ambition and tempo, listen to music that is enjoyable and upbeat (while being cautious of traffic!). Mix social time with exercise by walking friends, which will also make it more fun.

There are different ways to incorporate more walking into your daily activities. Each day, try to park further from your destination — school, work or the store. Use stairs instead of elevators or escalators.

Even small amounts of additional activity will increase total calorie expenditure.

JUDGE BY BREATHING

One way to increase energy output is to push off your toes more through each stride. This will engage more of your calf muscles when walking. 

Use a more vigorous arm swing, as upper body muscles will help burn more calories. When walking, use breathing patterns to determine perceived exertion. Easy breathing would be considered casual pace, halting speech would be a brisk 3-to-4-mph pace and the inability to speak would indicate that you are walking too fast.

Becoming and staying regularly active through a walking program is one effective way of maintaining good health and body composition. 

This is an activity that can be performed over a lifetime.

John Vasile, NSCA, holds a bachelor’s degree and is a certified personal trainer at the Wellness Center at PARC, located at 295 New York Road (next to ARC) in Plattsburgh. For more information, call him at 324-2024.

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