how to do a proper lunge with and without weights

How to do a Proper Lunge With and Without Weights

Hi there, my name is Bob, I’m 70 years old, and I’ve been working as a fitness instructor at our local YMCA here in Ontario, Canada for about 40 years now.  In this article, I discuss and then demonstrate how to do a proper lunge with and without weights.  Many people find lunges daunting, but if you do it correctly, it shouldn’t be.  It is only a dangerous move if done wrong, and that goes for basically any fitness manoeuvre. read more

what is upper crossed syndrome

About Upper Crossed Syndrome – Common Questions Answered

What is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

Upper crossed syndrome or USC is an imbalance in your upper body causing postural distortions centralized around your head and shoulders, which is caused by a combination of your major and minor pecs (chest muscles) and upper traps (muscles between your shoulders and neck) being too tight and overused, while your cervical flexors (muscles that hold the head up and back), lower traps and rhomboids (which hold your scapula aka shoulder blades in proper position) being weak and underused.  This creates the “cross” pattern in Upper Crossed Syndrome with these two forces – a weakening and a tightening of certain muscles at the same time – which can lead at first to imbalance and joint dysfunction, which then can and will lead to pain, followed by injury. read more

power walking tips

Power Walking Tips

There is a lot of research available about the many benefits of walking on a regular basis. It is just about having the motivation to get out there and do it, that is usually the problem for most people. There is also a lot of debate about the benefits of power walking. Some say it is a waste of time and others say it is a great way of increasing both health and fitness. Here is one statement that may help you make your mind up.

"Research states that for every hour you spend walking, it may add 2 hours to your life."

So I guess if that doesn't motivate people to walk, then honestly, I am not sure what will. So if that has got you motivated to make a start or to step your walking program up a gear, then here are 10 tips for power walkers that we think will really help.

Tip 1 - Have A Walking Plan

Many walkers just start out by going for a walk. That is of course a great start and hopefully thestart of something good to come in terms of the individuals health and fitness. We would however recommend having a plan, especially if you plan on power walking. This type of walking is at a faster pace, uses the legs and arms and is tougher than a normal walk.

The plan does not have to be complex, but you do need to stick with it. A simple plan we used when starting out power walking was this:

WEEKS

No of Walks

Length of Walk

Week 1

4 walks

20 minutes per walk

Week 2

6 walks

20 minutes per walk

Week 3

4 walks

30 minutes per walk

Week 4

6 walks

30 minutes per walk

Week 5

4 walks

45 minutes per walk

Week 6

6 walks

45 minutes per walk

We would also highly recommend measuring your progress using a small and inexpensive pedometer. When you see the results it will help keep you motivated. Simply by following this basic plan you will be amazed at the difference in just 6 short weeks.

Tip 2 - Wear Comforatble and Well Fitted Shoes

Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Hiking Shoe

If you are going to be walking quickly which will start to build up your cardiovascular activity, then it starts with your feet. That may at first seem a strange thing to say, so allow me to explain. It doesn't matter what terrain you will be walking on, or what pace you walk at, but it does matter a lot that your feet are well protected.

You need good lightweight walking shoes that are breathable, flexible and supportive. That way you need never worry about blisters, bunions or ankle sprains if you have the right footwear.You can read what we recommend for women here, or men here, Normal trainers or sneaker swill last for between 3-6 months. Investing in a good pair of walking shoes will last for 2-3 years and be much cheaper in the long run.

​Tip 3 - Wear the Right Gear

You do not have to spend a fortune on a whole load of sport's gear to be able to power walk.What you wear will mainly depend on the weather conditions. You want whatever you wear close to your skin to have good wicking properties. (Takes sweat away from the skin)

Other than that wear light layers of clothing. If you expect rain then of course a weatherproof coat or jacket is very useful. If it is snowing or icy conditions then just stay indoors. The risk of injury just outweighs the benefits of the walk. A treadmill is a great idea if you live in an area with wet or cold weather conditions.

Tip 4 - Do the Warm Up

Now all walkers should of course warm up with some stretches. For power walkers this is even more important. Again you do not need to go crazy with these but you do want to do some stretches and bends of the legs before you start your walk. This greatly reduces the risk of tearing or ripping muscles in the legs.

Once you have done that then start off by walking slowly for around 10 minutes before moving the pace up to another gear.

Power Walking Technique - How to Do Power Walking

The tips below explain how you perform the actual process of power walking. These will include some great speed walking tips, race and fitness walking tips to help you achieve your goals much faster.

Tip 5 - Posture is Important

One mistake I see even experienced power walkers doing is lowering the head and leaning too far forwards. they become so focused on speed that they completely forget about their posture.Your head should always be up, the tummy pulled right in and the chest lifted slightly upwards.

This allows the maximum air into your lungs and really helps develop a nice upright posture. If you can slightly tilt the pelvis forwards in an attempt to flatten your back, then this will also help work out the abdominal muscles and the buttocks.

Breathe as naturally as you can. Take deep breaths as that brings in more oxygen to your body and really helps keep energy levels up. Finally always look ahead and never down at the ground

Tip 6 - Arm Swings

Now most power walkers have really no idea when it comes to using your arms to help them walk. I have seen some VERY strange windmill movements in my time on the road. The proper way to use your arms is to try and relax the shoulders completely. That then allows your arms to swing freely. This should feel very natural. If you sense that your neck and back are starting to tense up, then again relax the shoulders and reduce the amount of arm swing.

Always bend your arms at your elbow as you are not on an army march. Now I know of many people who use arm weights and I have used them as well. Medical evidence has shown that these can add stress to both the elbows and the shoulders. As such I have now stopped using these. They are however useful for strengthening the arm muscles and also for the abdominal muscles. If used on a sensible basis, these can help in the early days.

Always cup your hands as that helps reduce the tension in the arms and shoulders. No crazy swing of the arms as it looks silly and is of no benefit at all. Make it as natural as you can for the best benefits. Your arm should never swing across your body and your arms should never go higher than your chest.

Top TIP: When the arms are used properly, you will notice a big increase in speed.

Tip 7 - Learn To Roll The Feet

When the shoe hits the ground try to develop a forward rolling action. So when the heel plants, try to make the walking shoe roll through to the toes. This does take a little bit of practise but once you master this it gives you great momentum. Many people simply walk by heavily planting the entire foot on to the ground and this can cause injury.

The rolling method makes you faster and also reduces any risk of injury.

Tip 8 - Good Stride Pattern

Do not over stride, and this is also a big common mistake for beginner power walkers. They believe that the have to really stretch out their stride length to walk faster. That is not the case as many other elements combine to increase the speed.

​By over stretching there is a big likelihood of a hamstring injury and you never want that painful experience. If you want to walk faster, then try to hold a straight line and take smaller faster steps.

Tip 9 - Forget About Others

If you are walking in a group or out walking and come across other walkers, do not get tempted into a race. You do not need to keep up and you do not want to do more than you can. This is not a race and it is just about you.

I have seen this happen a lot in walking groups. If you are in that position there will always be one or two people who will be similar in walking capability so walk with them, and let the super fast people get on with it.

​Tip 10 - The Cool Down

​You warmed up at the start, and likewise you should start to cool down at the end of your power walk. The simplest way to do that is that once you have completed your set time of power walking, then simply slow down the pace for 5 minutes and allow your body to naturally cool down. Relax your body and allow your breathing to return to normal before you hit the shower.

How to Power Walk Correctly?

power walking tips

There is a really big temptation when starting out as a beginner to overdo things generally. The motivation is usually high and the adrenalin is rushing and typically, you just can not wait to get started. Do not begin like this please.​ When you do there is a tendency to waste energy on swinging arms and moving your legs as fast as you can. You will get the best results when you use what is called controlled energy.

For sure you need to swing your arms but do it with determination and control. Make sure that it feels natural and also feels well balanced. Think of rhythm rather than swinging and get ​a nice steady arm movement going.

Avoid over striding and think more of covering the ground efficiently rather that almost getting to a jogging pace. Again this is all about the control.​

Conclusion

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful.​ When power walking it is also important to stay hydrated so bring a bottle of water with you, and take sips as you go along. The important thing is not to overdo your walking at the start. Over a short period of consistent walking you can very quickly build up your speed. That in turn really helps with fitness and for weight loss.

walking routine

Tips On How To Start A Walking Routine

Do you desire to get in shape? If you have not started exercising regularly, and would like to start running, then your first step should be to start walking. Running and walking are the two cheapest and most convenient ways to lose weight, get fit, improve your overall quality of life, and to reduce stress. Before you embark on your walking routine and making it part of your regular workout routine, take the following steps.

I have broken these down into ten steps and we would strongly recommend that you consider all of them. They will help you start on a good walking plan, which you can then improve upon, should you decide to do that.​

1. Get Checked

In case you have a family history of heart disease, or any other health problems, or if you are over age 40, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before you start any regular exercise program. We would also suggest that if you have not exercised for a long period of time, then it would also be a good idea to have a quick check-up.

Even though some people believe that ‘walk’ is a 4-letter word that exists in the dictionary, it remains as one of the most effective ways of improving your fitness level before you can start to run comfortably without risk of injury.Walking puts both your arms and legs through the same range of motion as running but without the same impact on the joints and bones. Experts recommend having a brisk walk without racing but not a window-shopping walk.

2. Walk, Then Run

Even though some people believe that ‘walk’ is a 4-letter word that exists in the dictionary, it remains as one of the most effective ways of improving your fitness level before you can start to run comfortably without risk of injury.

Walking puts both your arms and legs through the same range of motion as running but without the same impact on the joints and bones. Experts recommend having a brisk walk without racing but not a window-shopping walk.

For most people that means​ walking slightly faster than they normally would.

3. Start Small Then Build Slowly

Even though the idea of getting started on a ‘walking routine’ might seem daunting, it does not have to be. Start with a 15-minute walk. If you feel good afterwards, do it again the next day. If you are still feeling strong, you can add another five to ten minutes. By the end of the week aim for a walk of around 35 minutes daily.

4. Tracking Your Progress

Write down details pertaining to how far and how long you went on every workout as well as your feelings while you were on the road. You will build up on your confidence once you see all your workouts adding up. The next day’s workout will not seem as daunting once you see how much you have accomplished already.

great way of measuring your success is to use a pedometer. That can help track your progress over a period of time, and many new walkers use these when starting out. What is interesting is that they then continue to use them, as they are very effective.​

how walking helps reduce blood pressure

Walking For Lower Blood Pressure

Experts agree that high blood pressure is not a good thing for our health.  Can a simple walk help control, and even lower blood pressure?  So, if you are someone who suffers from high blood pressure, then before you undertake any change in lifestyle, be that diet or exercise, then you should first consult with your doctor, or medical advisor.  That is a common sense approach to take, if you suffer from any medical condition. read more