A person's individual capacity to undertake exercise will depend upon age, sex and level of fitness. The amount of energy used for all exercise segments together, in a training session, is called the overload (also called training stimulus). Different people (e.g. the fit and the unfit) will have different capacities to undertake the same exercise programme: the impact of the same programme on different individuals will thus vary. This variation is called the 'strain'. The way a person's strain impacts upon the exercise undertaken is called the 'training stress'.
In order to achieve greater stability, the following should be observed:
- The body should always be upright,
- Face should be positioned out in front (not facing downwards)
- The heel should be planted first and rolled - then push off with the toe
- Toes should face forward (not to the side, not even slightly sideways)
- Shoulders should be slightly back
- Arms should move in opposition to legs (i.e. left arm should be back when left leg is forward).
A slow stroll for a short distance will not give you a significant aerobic workout, but the following ways of walking will:
1) Speed or Power Walking
You need a steady rhythm and one that is brisk enough to raise a light sweat. The arms must move as well as the legs. Take longer than normal walking strides, and make sure comfortable shoes with good support and comfortable clothes are worn. In order to increase the speed and energy expended, you need to push back hard on each step. Keep the elbows bent and fists lightly closed. This can look silly, so you need to put your ego aside for a while.
A 10 minute power walk can be an excellent start to an aerobics workout. A 20-30 minute power walk by itself can be a great workout.
This type of walking can require a little more motor skill coordination than other types, particularly if it is to be sustained for a full workout period of half an hour or more.
2) Pole Walking
This involves walking with two walking sticks (poles). It is the safest and perhaps best way to increase aerobic effort in a walk. The poles are used in a similar manner to ski poles. By pushing on the poles as you walk, the intensity of exercise is increased and at the same time you are provided with greater stability. The poles work better if they have rubber bases to absorb any jarring.
A beginner who walks this way at a rate of 4-5 km per hour may get a useful workout. For more advanced training, the walking rate should increase to 6-7 km per hour.
3) Weighted Walking
This involves carrying weights as you walk, either in your hands or via weights attached to your body (e.g. in a weight belt). Excessive use of weights can however strain the parts of the body which supports the weights - so be careful.
For most unfit people, jogging continually for half an hour or more can change an aerobic workout into an aerobic plus anaerobic workout (this depends very much on the fitness level).
A better alternative is intermittent jogging or walking. This can be done with or without a treadmill.
Generally, for beginners it is advisable to jog for 100 to 200 metres and then walk for 50 metres. This pattern is then repeated over and over for half an hour. Another option is to alternate a 5 minute jog and 2 minute walk, depending on the fitness level. A very unfit beginner might start with a 1 minute jog followed by a 1 minute walk. You would then adjust the schedule as fitness improves.
Advanced training may involve: a faster rate of jogging for similar distances, lengthening the jogging segments, or an overall increase in the duration of the session (e.g. instead of a beginners 25 minute workout, perhaps a 45 minute to 1 hour workout).
Whatever you do though, stay within your limits. It is best to wear a heart rate monitor and ensure that you do not exceed the recommended 75% of MHR (MHR equals 200 minus your age). This is now used in interval training (e.g. one fast lap of an oval followed by one slow lap).
You can jog in all sorts of places:
- Along streets
- Cross country
- On park tracks
- Around an oval
- On a treadmill.
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