The pavements and parks are getting pounded yet again as pairs stride it out to ward off the COVID blues and kilos!
Although walking seems like an ideal low impact and safe form of exercise, doing too much too soon can lead to injuries.
The following are some tips to help you stay injury free whilst increasing your fitness:
· Always warm up and stretch before breaking into a fast pace. After a 5 minute warmup, dynamic or moving stretches are preferable with static stretches at the end of the workout. Stretches should include calf muscles, quadraceps, hamstrings, hips and hip flexors. Pictured below are examples of static stretches which can be modified into moving stretches e.g for calf stretch, keep feet together and alternate squeezing each heel to the ground, use butt kicks for quad stretches squeezing butt under and pushing hip forward, alternate hamstring stretch then push forward into a hip flexor stretch.
Pectorals and shoulders should also be stretched to encourage tall posture whilst walking and for range of motion - arms and shoulders are walking muscles and these become particularly tight with prolonged periods of sitting
·When you have decided to push your boundaries a little, focus on increasing either speed or distance.
Increase your distance by about 10% every week. Using a fitness tracker can be useful.
Don’t push it out every day. Alternate hard and easy days to give your body a chance to recover.
Keep consistent! 150 minutes of exercise per week is the recommended minimum and weekend warrior mentality is a recipe for injury.
Consider strength training to support walking muscles. Glutes in particular keep correct alignment whilst walking and glute amnesia is a common outcome of prolonged sitting.
If you would like to challenge yourself further, heartrate zone training is great option! You don’t need a heartrate monitor, just ensure that for 60% of your workout, you can only speak short sentences, in other words, you are challenging your cardiovascular system and this will make you huff and puff!
If you would like further guidance on achieving your fitness goals in lockdown, please don’t hesitate to contact me!