Walk The Weight Off

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Published: April 2, 2014

Fitness

Understand that we all have to start somewhere and know that, fitness level aside, walking is good for you. Research has shown it can lead to reductions in heart disease, blood pressure level, and improved body composition and bone density. So if you are thinking of snubbing walking, think again. Walking at/or faster than 5km/h leads to increased stride length, this makes it harder and less efficient. At these speeds, you use more energy and increase the recruitment of the core and arm muscles, which gets you quite the aerobic exertion.

What to listen to – For me, music is an important part of my fitness routine. There is no way I could do as much, without motivating tunes inspiring my flow and no doubt debilitating my eardrums. That said, musical preference is very personal and so you have to choose music that motivates you.

How far to walk – If you are concerned about how far you can walk, realistically, my recommendation is to walk out for one song and then walk back for one song. Most songs are somewhere between 3.5 minutes and 6 min and that’s a good place to start. Increasing this by a song each way every week is an achievable way to get started.

What to wear – Ah ladies, the important bit–shopping! That was a joke; vanities aside, shoes are important. If your feet are uncomfortable, everything is uncomfortable. You will need specific shoes with sufficient support and cushioning to keep you comfortable. Brands like Merrell have perfected the specifications to suit the needs of power walkers. Head over to a sports footwear retailer and get yourself fitted.

If you mean to power-walk and work up a good sweat, it is probably best to wear comfortable moisture-wicking apparel. All major (if not all) sports brands carry them.

During your walk – After you are warmed up, stretch. And when you are done, stretch again. Stretching can greatly improve your flexibility and comfort, which will improve your performance.

Ways to get going now

  • Set a Challenge – If you are a goal oriented person, a challenge might be right up your alley. Commit to taking x steps a week and make it happen. Wear a pedometer and find out how many steps you take on an average day then set your goal to be 15 -20% more when you start power walking.
  • Strength in Numbers – Join a walking group and if you can’t find one, create one with your friends. The accountability will spur you on.
  • Swap the Ride – Forget ‘big-mannism’ and start by swapping one or two of your weekly rides for a brisk walk and rip not only the aesthetic benefits but improvements in your endurance and strength.

Where to walk – Finally, there is a bit of a fitness boom in Nigeria and gyms and fitness centres are popping up everywhere. This is good news because you can walk to your local gym or you can walk at the gym on the treadmill. If you live in Lagos or Abuja, www.walkjogrun.net has mapped out routes by distance for aspiring runners. Pair up and hit the road.

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About Orjiugo Oguguo

Orjiugo Oguguo is an engineer with a passion for fitness. She is an ACE certified health coach and also has fitness certifications in Schwinn, Les Mills Body Combat, Body Pump, and CXWorx. Follow her on Twitter @The_Orjiugo and Instagram #The_Orjiugo.

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