Hippocrates said, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” And he’s not wrong. Research from Harvard University shows that walking just 30 minutes a day reduces your chance of getting heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, some cancers, dementia, Alzheimer’s and depression by up to 50 per cent.
But to turn your daily walk into a workout, you need to include some activities that make you puff and lift heavy things. You do this by carrying your body weight (a heavy thing) up and down stairs and over obstacles. Here’s how:
Find a location that includes some stairs, ramps and natural obstacles, such as those found in a park, a school, a nature reserve or even a shopping centre. You’ll need to keep a lookout for appropriate locations and you’ll soon find lots of options in your local area.
Walk at a moderate pace for five minutes to warm up. Focus on good posture by gently tilting the front of your hips slightly towards your lower ribs while lengthening your spine. This helps engage your core, which supports your torso.
Stop and stretch your calves and Achilles tendons by dropping your heel over the edge of a step. Then stretch your quads by lifting your heel up behind you to your bottom, and feeling the front of your leg and hip stretching.
Walk at a brisk pace for 15 minutes going up and down any stairs or over other obstacles you find along the way. This might involve stepping over logs, leaping over a flower bed, scrambling over a park bench, walking in soft sand or climbing over a little fence. The stairs and obstacles will cause your heart rate to rise, which will improve your cardiovascular fitness and your strength.
Walk back to your starting point at a moderate pace to cool down. And if you need some extra motivation, get a buddy to join you, because it’s much more fun together.
© Prevention Australia
First published: 12 Jun 2019