Makeover Monday: Walk This Way

One of my primary forms of cardio exercise is walking. People often ask me if I ever get bored with it, if it doesn’t get to feeling too routine or mundane.

Short answers: No, no and hell no.

For one thing, I love being outdoors and even though the exercise is the same, the scenery is constantly changing around me, even when I’m just walking around the neighborhood. Plus you never know when you might have to save some wildlife.

Another factor to consider is that not all walks are created equal. Some days I stride, some days I scurry, and some days I do both. And then, of course, some days I just walk and feel the sun and breathe fresh air. By varying my technique, I can activate and use different muscle groups at different times or on different days.

Family Circle magazine covered this very subject in an all-too-brief article in their September issue. Guess what? I’m about to make it briefer. :) The article included a recommended schedule, but given that we’re all at different levels of ability here, I thought I’d focus on the walking and leave the when and how long to you.

Here are some variations for you to consider for your walks:

The Heel-Toe Step – This one is simple. You focus on putting your heel on the ground and push off with your toes. Repeat with other foot.

The Straight-Leg Walk – For this step, you envision yourself wearing a mini-skirt (you too, guys) and are having to hurry to catch a bus. I think of it almost as a scoot step and confess that this is not a step I’ve ever done.

The Tea-break Walk – A really stupid name for this step, if you ask me (which they didn’t). They also refer to it as the “Morning Walk,” proving that one goofy name was apparently not enough. That aside, it’s my favorite kind of walking: long strides with arms swinging straight out in front and behind you. I let every ounce of pride and accomplishment I feel flow through me, and I move. For our purposes, I’m changing the name of this step to The Pride Walk. If you don’t try any of the others, please try this one.

The Short-step Walk – Here, you take small steps, placing one foot in front of the other no more than two steps ahead. It would be a good middle ground between the striding “Pride Walk” and the Straight-Leg Walk. And no mini-skirt is required (unless you want to.)

The Feather-light Step – In this step, you lengthen your spine, pull your belly in and roll from your heel through your toes as you walk.

You can also vary your walk by combining different steps. Alternate five minutes doing one type of step with five minutes of doing another and so on. Or you could do what I do and adjust your steps to the music you’re listening to at the time.

Add extra variety on some days by walking hills or stairs and for even more fun, try walking up and down them backward. (Might help to have a friend or lookout available for this one if you’re on a street or sidewalk.)

Finally, don’t forget to take a walk every now and then just for the fun of it. Maybe invite friends or family along. The goal is just to be outdoors and enjoying life, to appreciate that you are able to do so.

Okay, dear Readers. That’s all I have (the Family Circle people, too, apparently). Do you have any walking steps or techniques to share? Here, or your place, it’s up to you.

As always, I hope any of these suggestions will prove to be useful, and I thank you for stopping by.

Have a great week, everyone!