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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Day 16 Strength training made simple

A memorable walk in Thunder Bay ... view of the
 Sleeping Giant in the T. Bay Harbour

Day 16  Strength training with no weights ... just your body weight ... simple
I was inspired to write this blog by my friend Scott over at his blog Walking to Retirement please check it out if you get a chance.  He is taking a course on fitness walking and it looks great.  He is letting us in on the details as it goes along so it is worth a look for sure!

The course is talking about strength training right now and how important it is to add to your fitness regime.  I am totally on board with that and when we do our Power Walking Training with the Personal Best and Intro to Power Walking groups we have a section in our handbook that is dedicated to some very simple but powerful moves that can easily build the muscles that not only help you walking strong but they will also keep you in balance and safely functioning on a day to day basis for many years to come. 
We are always hearing about how important it is NOT to fall.  That is because the statistics are so huge regarding the rate at which people die after they have a serious fall ... it is astounding how many people die within a year after a fall breaking a hip. The main way to keep from falling at any age is to increase core strength through, you guessed it, walking and strength training.
My theory is that whatever we do it has to be SIMPLE AND UNCOMPLICATED hence I promote walking30, nothing could be simpler.  As for strength training it can become complicated very quickly ... I have tons of equipment that I don't use gathering dust in my basement ... I bet you do too.
So how do we strengthen those primary muscles in a quick, simple way with no fuss.  I promote 4 easy moves to do using the equipment that goes everywhere with you ... your body.
I have just added the information below ... go ahead and share it if you would like to ... nothing under the sun is original so don't worry about giving me credit ... I have learned all this from many other sources. It just might help you  Walk On Strong  for many years to come.
     Strength Training for Walkers from Walk On Strong!
A simple workout that can be done every other day to improve strength and muscle mass. No equipment is required and it takes less than 20 minutes

BENT KNEE PUSH UPS    Start with your hands and knees on a mat. Your hands should be shoulders-width apart and your head, neck, hips and legs should be in a straight line. Do not let your back arch and cave in. Maintain a slight bend in the elbows. Lower your upper body by bending your elbows outward, stopping before your chest touches the floor. Contracting the chest muscles, slowly return to the starting position. Inhale while lowering your body. Exhale while returning to the starting position. After mastering this exercise, you may wish to try the full push-up.

LUNGE (with or without weights)    Stand straight with your feet together. Hold your arms down at your sides. Step forward with the right leg and lower the left leg until the knee almost touches the floor. Contracting the quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh), push off your right foot, slowly returning to the starting position. Alternate the motion with the left leg to complete the set. Inhale while stepping forward. Exhale while returning to the starting position. The step should be long enough that your left leg is nearly straight. Do not let your knee touch the floor. Make sure your head is up and your back is straight. Your chest should be lifted and your front leg should form a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement. Your right knee should not pass your right foot, and you should be able to see your toes at all times. If you have one leg that is more dominant than the other, start out with the less dominant leg first. Discontinue this exercise if you feel any discomfort in your knees.

WALKING LUNGE    This move is similar to the lunge but instead of bringing your leg back from the forward lunge position you will bring the back leg forward to lunge with the opposite leg. You will be talking giant lunge steps using the same technique as above. 
10 lunge steps at a time and repeat 2 or 3 times

PLANK for a strong core.    The plank exercise is a great way to build endurance in both the abs and back, as well as stabilizer muscles. To do it right: Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air.  Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

So there you go ... just add this 2 or 3 times a week to your daily walk30 and you will notice a difference in your strength, speed and stamina ... guaranteed! 
Walk On!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Sue - will definitely give these a go!