Walk fast to fitness

By Di Westaway

Walk fast to fitness
Get fit fast and have fun by walking with bursts of intensity and resistance just three times a week in the great outdoors with your friends.

Walking for fitness brings countless benefits to you and your friends. And, it’s as inexpensive as the cost of your shorts, t- shirts, runners and a challenging goal to inspire you to walk regularly. You can easily train in a local park, bush reserve or beach, giving maximum results in minimum time by using interval and resistance training.

Interval training is when you alternate bursts of high intensity activity followed by recovery phases, and resistance training is where you add some kind of weight to the activity to force your muscles to strengthen.

When you combine interval and resistance training, you build muscle and burn fat faster. That means you get fit faster. With a few simple tips, this combination of interval training and resistance training can be done while walking in stunning locations on hills, stairs and soft sand, and if you invite a friend, it’s social as well. But the best news for you is that this time-efficient, effective form of exercise is great for overall health and fitness. It’s also known as metabolic resistance training: you will build muscle, burn fat and improve cardiovascular fitness.

So, exactly how do you do this metabolic resistance training?

Traditionally, it’s done in a gym with weights, circuits and personal trainers. But, it can also be done by walking outdoors in nature with a backpack, walking poles and your friends. Here’s how:

  • Block out 3×1 hour slots per week in your diary with a training buddy, preferably at sunrise before life gets in the way: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6-7am work well for women.
  • Find a location/s which includes grass, stairs, hills, soft sand, undulating and natural features. These features add the intensity.
  • Pack a back pack with water bottle, a couple of kilos of rice for extra weight, a snack, sunscreen, raincoat and towel, starting at about 5 kilos and adding half a kilo a week to a maximum of 10kg. This weight is your resistance.
  • Use trekking poles as you walk so that you add additional upper body strength. Simply push hard on the poles when you walk up the stairs and use the poles for balance on the descent. This helps to strengthen the shoulders, triceps and back muscles and to prevent injury.
  • Go to your location and do the following:
    • Walk gently for 5 minutes to warm up
    • Do 5 minutes of dynamic movement such as leg and arm swings and hip and shoulder rotating movements to prevent injury
    • (Day 1) Go up and down the stairs or hills so that you really puff on the way up, and recover your breath on the way down for 30 minutes
    • (Day 2) Do lunges and squats in sets of 20 with your backpack on an walk along the soft sand in sets so that you alternate laps where you really puff for 1 – 3 minutes with intervals of gentle walking for 1-3 minutes to recover for 30 mins
    • (Day 3) Walk along an undulating bush track and every time you find a set of stairs en route, go up and down them a few times for 30 mins.
  • Try to find rocky trails and natural obstacles that you can climb around or over during your workout so you challenge the whole body
  • Finish your workout with some core/stretching exercises that you borrow from yoga or pilates, like sun salutations with plank, downward and upward facing dogs or planks.

And if you’d like a really fun way to stay motivated, walk 3 times a week with your friends over summer, then come with us on the Wild Women On Top Sydney Coastrek, 50-100km Team Challenge 28th Feb 2014. Enter before 31st October 2013 here. http://www.coastrek.com.au/register-now/overview2013/

Di Westway is CEO, Wild Women On Top, Trek Training for Adventure


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