A brilliant book at all levels, Walking for Fitness is written by Nina Barough who started the Walk the Walk charity and is a power-walking guru. It covers absolutely everything, with sections on how to get started, basic walking technique, stretches and complimentary exercises, good walking shoes and clothing, cross training, food intake, related injuries, walking with children, walking while pregnant, walking for charities or in competitions and training programmes.
Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training.
Aerobic exercise is indicated for patients who lack the ability to sustain activity for a desired period of time because of decreased cardiovascular efficiency. Oftentimes, these patients have complaints of fatigue with a given level of exercise. Aerobic exercise increases the body’s capacity to absorb, deliver, and utilize oxygen. However, there are some limitations to being able to use aerobic conditioning for older adults. Joint pain and/or muscle weakness may preclude a patient from being able to perform the multiple contractions needed to provide a cardiovascular stimulus. In those cases, strengthening exercises may be needed prior to attempting aerobic exercise. For example, when an individual who is not on β-blockers walks 200 m on the 6MWT, but the heart rate only increases 10 beats per minute (bpm), the assumption can be made that the individual was not able to exert enough effort to increase heart rate and that a lack of muscle strength may exist.30
OK, so maybe you won’t have the ability to see through walls but you can protect your vision as you age by taking a daily walk, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that people who did regular aerobic activity had healthier eyeballs and were less likely to suffer from problems like retinal degeneration and age-related vision loss. So even if you aren’t Superman, you’ll still have super sight. Find out what your walking style says about your personality.
Most activities can be performed aerobically or anaerobically. For example, you could walk briskly on the treadmill at 3.5 miles per hour and feel warm and slightly out of breath (aerobic), or you could walk very briskly at 4.5 miles per hour and feel very out of breath (anaerobic). The same is true for biking, swimming, dancing, or virtually any other activity. The intensity of the workout determines whether an activity is aerobic or anaerobic, and all you need to do is pace yourself to elicit the type of training you desire.
The third thing I noticed, was how walking reaffirmed my love for where I loved. When you wander daily around your locale, you start to look at it properly; when you do that, you notice how devastatingly beautiful it is. How weird, how sweet, how contrary, how chic. I saw hidden architectural loveliness and hilarious graffiti; outrageously stylish tiling on the exterior of ancient pubs, unutterably picturesque, Dickensian cut-throughs and alleyways. I saw more of the sky, more often, than I’d ever seen before.
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At this point, you have to suspend your disbelief and try it. The concentration it requires beggars belief. Hall says at one point, “it’s like patting your head and rubbing your tummy – it takes a lot of brain power”. I didn’t believe her for one second, but of course it was true. Even chatting at the same time as having an active foot was a challenge. Having an active foot and a hip lift was like trying to do a sudoku while listening to Motörhead.