Walking is free, easy and fits into your everyday life! On the 25th of October, join the woman&home team in Johannesburg for the Avon Justine iThemba Walkathon. Family members of all ages are welcome, especially the ones with four paws. Register online today, the first 21 000 entries will recieve a fabulous goodie bag. To get you started fitness guru Nicki Waterman shares her 10-point plan for walking.
“If you walk at a purposeful pace using good technique, you’re a fitness walker! Start with a ten-minute brisk walk five days a week. Then up it to 15 minutes and eventually to an hour five days a week. Make sure you include two rest days. You’ll soon see the toning effect on your bottom and legs. Use these tips to give you good walking form and increase your pace.”
Nicki’s 10 point-plan for walking
1 Always warm up and stretch before a walk and stretch and cool down after one.
2 Use good posture. Walk tall, look forward, gazing about six metres ahead. Your chin should be level and your head up. Keep your chest raised and shoulders relaxed.
3 Bend your arms at a slightly less than 90-degree angle. Cup your hands gently. Swing your arms front to back (not side to side – arms should not cross your body). Do not swing elbows higher than your breastbone. Swing your arms faster and your feet will automatically follow the pace.
4 Tighten your abs and buttocks. Flatten your back and tilt your pelvis slightly forward.
5 Pretend you are walking along a straight line. Resist the urge to elongate your steps though. If you want to go faster, take smaller, faster steps.
6 Concentrate on landing on your heel, rolling through the step and pushing off with your toes. Use the natural spring of your calf muscles to propel you forward.
7 Pick up more speed by taking shorter steps. Aim towards walking 6km to 8km an hour. Start off by walking 1,6km as fast as you comfortably can. Then use how you feel afterwards to decide how fast you can progress. Build stamina with a short distance at a fast speed midweek and a longer, slower walk at weekends.
8 Breathe naturally. As you walk, take deep, rhythmic breaths to get the maximum amount of oxygen through your system. Walk fast enough that your breathing is increased yet you are not out of breath.
9 If you can say a sentence but can’t sing a whole song, you are walking at the right intensity to be burning off just over 800 kilojoules in half an hour on the flat, or 1255 kilojoules uphill.
10 Avoid mistakes made by walkers. Do not over stride. Do not use too vigorous arm movements, look at the ground, hunch your shoulders or wear or carry weights. For safety, try to always walk with at least one other person.