Updated: Mar 26, 2022
After a long winter, there's nothing like a walk outside in the fresh air to boost your spirit and refresh your soul. If you're not keen on walking alone, why not start a walking club at work or in your neighborhood? It's always more fun to walk with friends, and walking and talking nourishes the soul.
Relationship issues, parenting struggles, and job woes won't seem as overwhelming after a good chat and walk. You may be surprised at how therapeutic and energizing walking really is.
If the extent of your winter activity has been walking to and from the couch on commercial breaks, you don't want to go #running out of the gate! While it's great to be #motivated, shin splints or a pulled muscle can quickly bench your good intentions if you're not prepared. Start out with a mile or two or set a time of 30-45 minutes. Do the following warm-up before you start:
Ankle Circles: Standing on one foot, lift the other leg off the ground in front of you. Slowly make circles with the toes. Do 5 circles then reverse the direction of your circle or do 5 more. Switch feet and repeat.
Heel Raises: Stand with your feet inches apart. Rest your hands on a tree or bench if necessary. Slowly raise your heels off the ground, keeping your knees straight. Hold for 5 seconds and do 10 reps.
Pendulum Leg Swings: Stand on one leg and swing the other leg nice and easy from the hip in a front-to-back motion. Keep the swinging motion low and do 15 reps on each leg.
Hula Swings: Stand with your hands on hips, feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Slowly, make a circle with your hips as if you were using a hula hoop in slow motion. Do 10 reps, reverse the direction, and do 10 more.
Arm Circles: Hold both arms straight out to your sides to form a letter T. Slowly make 10 backward circles, then 10 forward circles.
WALK THIS WAY
Proper form for walking will make it more enjoyable and help prevent soreness.
Head: Keep in line with your shoulders so you don't strain your neck.
Shoulders: Keep them level, back, and relaxed
Arms: Close to body and swinging back and forth
Hands: Let them curl slightly but don't clench
Abs: Contract them for support
Legs: Move them forward from your hips NOT your knees
Feet: Strike with your heel then roll forward to your toes as your opposite heels hits.
Take advantage of the walking paths in your community parks or meet and walk through your neighborhood. If you can find a route with gently rolling hills, even better!
Mix it up by adding walking lunges, high knees, walking backward, skipping, butt kicks, etc. Don't worry about looking silly. I've led many walking groups and there is always someone along the way who either cheers us on or asks if they can join because we're having so much fun!
Check "Fitness and good eats boards" on Pinterest.
Related Topics: Why Fitness Matters more than Body Weight, Size, or Shape.