Friday, April 28, 2017

How to spice up your daily walk

Chances are your best bet for staying reasonably in shape is going for a walk every day. It's easy and effective. It's also boring.

Here are some things I try to do. I carry a camera. The point of this is that I start looking for good photographs, which means I'm getting out of my head and actually observing nature around me. Another thing I try to do is describe in words what I'm seeing. What words would I choose to describe this very old tree?

Someone else had the same thought, and so here are more ways to make your walk more interesting and effective:

Try Some Fancy Footwork

“Mix up your foot patterns to keep your brain engaged while also improving balance and agility,” says Jessica Smith, certified trainer and creator of the Walk On: 5 Mix and Match Miles DVD.

Try alternating three to five minutes of your regular walking stride with one to three minutes of moves like walking sideways, crossover walks (crossing one foot over the other while continuing to move sideways), or walking heel to toe (as if you’re balancing on a tightrope). Continue alternating movement styles until your walk is over.

Meditate While You Move
Walk at a comfortable pace and spend three minutes observing your surroundings through only one of your senses, suggests Danny Dreyer, co-founder of Chi Walking, a system of movement that blends the subtle inner focus of tai chi with walking.

For example, tune into your sense of touch by noticing the sensations in your feet as they strike the ground, and then scan up through the rest of your body, noticing what you feel. After three minutes, switch to another sense: sight, sound, smell, or taste (yes, taste the “flavor” of your environment—is it sweet, dry, sharp, luscious?). Cycle through all five senses, and then repeat until you’re finished walking. You’re ultimately practicing moving meditation.

Have Fun with Fartleks
Fartlek training is simply defined as periods of fast running mixed with periods of slower running, but it also works for walking, says Shane McLean, an American Council on Exercise personal trainer and SilverSneakers group exercise instructor.

Pick a spot in the distance, like a street sign or tree, and walk as fast as you can to that point. If you’re walking with a partner, make it a race. Start with two or three intervals throughout your route, and add more when you feel comfortable. Remember to allow yourself time to recover between intervals: one to three minutes, depending on your fitness level.

I'm trying to decide what I think about the word "fartleks." Meantime, there are more tips here.

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