Longer, Stronger, Faster…Fall in Love with Walking

18 Nov

Please Note: This site has moved to it’s own home at: http://www.theheartyheart.com/

You can find this article in it’s new home here

Beginning Old Post: As an avid runner I’ll admit I’ve had a slight aversion to taking “walks”, always thinking I’d rather be running. However, being in Tokyo since September it’s been very difficult to find space in this urban mecca to fit in any long, uninterrupted runs. Therefore I’ve been switching gears, and for the past few months have been focusing on distance “power walking”. This has led me to wonder: What benefits does this bring, that could give other forms of cardio… a run for their money?

I first need to clarify some terms here. Likely, we think of power walking as the kind of sport we rarely see anytime but the Olympics. Hips swaying madly side-to-side, intense scrutiny ensuring one foot always remains in contact with the ground. That’s actually race walking. Let’s make a separation here to ensure I don’t turn you off with thoughts of needing to smear Vaseline between your thighs to prevent friction burns…no, no! Power walking is walking with attitude, purpose and stride! The “Hearty Heart” version of power walking also encourages you to push yourself to walk farther than you would typically think of “going for a walk”. For me, this has meant walking for an hour of my daily commute each day, and once a week walking all the way home from work which is about a 2 hour route.

This is what I avoid, when I walk instead!

One of the biggest benefits I’ve been able to measure in using long distance power walks as a form of exercise, is in noticing the sustained endurance when I do head out on a run. I would normally need to be running 3+ times a week to maintain my cardiovascular fitness to consistently run 30 min or longer. By incorporating 4-5 days of power walking (via my commute) totaling about 5.5 hours of walking a week, I’ve been able to head out on sporadic runs without feeling tired, my lungs aching, or the lactic acid backing up in my legs. It’s amazing to know when I do get back into training for races I won’t have that much catching up to do!

2010 Scotiabank Half Marathon

Above all else The Hearty Heart recommends you give long distance power walks a try this fall (or winter/spring/summer-whatever season you find yourself in these days!), for these…
Top 5 Heart Healthy Reasons to Power Walk:
  1. Heart Disease: A recent Harvard study showed that walking at a moderate pace just 30 minutes a day may cut the risk of heart disease in women (I’d imagine much the same, or close to, would be true for men) by as much as 40 percent! *See link below
  2. Weight loss: Power walking builds muscles, especially toning and strengthening the hip flexors, calf muscles and thighs. Increased muscle mass and tone burns more calories at rest, which can aid in weight loss efforts. Once you’ve been active for 15-20 + minutes you’ve also made the shift into an aerobic fat burning zone.
  3. Circulation: Take a moment after a good long power walk to sit and feel the tingle in your legs. It’s the noticeable sign of improved circulation. Enhancing your circulation allows your body to more effectively filter toxins, flush wastes and increase oxygenation of your tissues, all of which helps to promote longevity.
  4. Brain Power: I can relate to another Harvard School of Public Health Study (see link below) that correlates 30 min. a day of physical activity with improved test scores. I’ve been studying Japanese vocab during some of my walks, and have been amazed at how quickly the memorization is sticking.
  5. Meditative: Get focused before work, or decompress after work; use the rhythm of your steps and breath to let your mind wander free and unrestrained. Use the physical act of moving forwards set the tone of forward momentum for your life.

For more information and other great reasons to get power walking, feel free to visit:

*http://www.qualityhealth.com/fitness-exercise-articles/power-walking-101

———————————————————————————————————————-

Lastly, a few more temptations from this month’s feature food: Soba Noodles. Included below are 2 new recipes. Keep your pantry and table inspired with whole grain based, complex carbohydrates to fuel you prior to some of your equally inspired power walks!

Remember: You can also simply try swapping Soba Noodles for any noodle in your favorite pasta dishes.

Crab and Soba Noodle Salad:

C/O: http://healthnutfoodie.blogspot.com/2010/01/welcome.html

Soba Noodle Pancakes!!

C/O: http://www.herbivoracious.com/2009/04/crispy-soba-buckwheat-noodle-pancake-with-scallions-and-kochujang-recipe.html

Enjoy the benefits of living with a hearty heart…

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Longer, Stronger, Faster…Fall in Love with Walking”

  1. Norma 07/12/2010 at 11:11 am #

    Hi, Emma. Pat shared your blog with me when we were visiting the Gold Coast from Calgary and I really enjoyed it. You write well, the photos are beautiful and the blog is informative without being pushy. I like your approach of linking your advice to your personal experience. I look forward to following the journey with you ! I also hope to meet you one day. Thanks and take care,
    Norma

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: