There was no nearby walking path and the ground near the family’s Michigan vacation home was too sandy to easily navigate, but Joe Wanner was not deterred.
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Benefits of walking
From the American College of Sports Medicine:
• Reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity
• Works several major muscle groups – the knee extensors (quadriceps), hip extensors (hamstrings and gluteal muscles) and muscles of the lower legs. These muscles help pump blood back to the heart, and exercising them improves circulation, muscular endurance and dynamic balance.
9 tips to perfect your walking form
From the American Council on Exercise
1. Stand up tall. Imagine that a wire attached to the crown of your head is gently pulling you upward. Walking erect will keep you moving at a brisker pace.
2. Keep your eyes on the horizon. This will help you to stand taller and avoid stress on your neck and low back.
3. Lift your chest and tighten your abs. Using muscles in the front of your body to straighten up will take pressure off your back.
4. Bend your arms. You’ll be able to swing your arms faster, which helps increase your speed. It also prevents swelling caused from blood pooling in your hands as you walk longer distances.
5. Relax your shoulders. Your arms will swing more freely, and you’ll avoid upper back and neck tension.
6. Maintain a neutral pelvis. Don’t tuck your tailbone under or overarch your back.
7. Keep your front leg straight but not locked. You’ll have a smoother stride and be able to propel yourself forward more easily.
8. Aim your knees and toes forward. Proper alignment will reduce your chances of injury.
9. Land on your heel. This facilitates the heel-to-toe walking motion that will carry farther and faster than if your foot slaps down on the ground with each step.
Tips to keep you walking
From exercise physiologist Craig Cole:
Spread your walking evenly throughout the week. Try to walk at least three days a week if you can’t walk daily. Each week, add a few minutes to your walk.
Set personal goals and when you reach these milestones (distance or amount of time walked) reward yourself.
Keep track of your progress with a walking journal or fitness log.
Find a walking partner to help motivate you and vise versa.