Spring is in the air & there really is no better time to pay a little attention to upping your walk with some amazing cardiovascular benefits. To improve your stamina – that’s the fitness of your heart and lungs, you need to think about progressively increasing the intensity of your walking – think of this in terms of pace of walking ( I’m talking cadence + length of stride – more on this in separate post), gradient of your terrain and your technique. We’ve already been looking at technique and obviously the greater the gradient the harder the work – but in this post – I’d like to give you some pointers on your pace.
For cardiovascular benefit you need to increase your steps per minute and find your Optimum Walking Pace. To help you establish your OWP you will first need to work out your maximum walking pace. This is not the pace you will be walking at as it’s so fast, it jeopardises good technique, and will increase joint strain, but easing off this pace by about 5% to 10% gives you your OWP – the pace you should be aiming to walk at. by following a progressive training [programme such as WalkActive Stroll to Stride 5 km ( launching April 2021) You’ll achieve great cardiovascular stamina and endurance without compromising your technique or posture. Which means you enjoy great results.
To help you increase your pace, here are three top WalkActive technique tips to try:
1. See cups of water
This simple visualisation exercise helps flatten a saggy tummy and helps stabilise your pelvis and create firm, abdominals. Your power muscles of your leg – the gluteals and hamstrings are attached to the pelvis and if the pelvis I stable you’ll get more propulsion with each stride. As you walk imagine you have a cup of water balanced on each hip with each stride you need to make sure you keep the cup balanced and not spilling. Weak abs will mean your stability is poor and your pelvis is not creating the framework for good posture and correct muscle recruitment.
- Think arms not legs.
When wanting to increase your leg speed try to swing your arms faster rather than speeding up your leg and foot strike. Using your arms creates a better rhythm for your walk whereas trying to speed up your foot strike creates postural mis alignment and can compromise pace and technique.
- Make space
This last one tip is very subtle but key to getting effortless looking pace with great stamina benefits. Try focusing on your stride by concentrating on creating as much space between your pelvis and each thigh bone. Visualising a balloon in your hip socket which needs to have space to be blown up can help, the trick is to pull your abdominals up as well as in so you allow your leg to fully extend from the hip before you bend at the knee to bring the leg forward. This helps lengthen your stride and takes pressure of your knee and hip joints.
Addressing pace is important but remember never compromise good technique for speed – this is false economy and will only lead to injury and reduce the effectiveness of your efforts.
To improve your walking technique and posture – do please check out Get Started with WalkActive On Demand and if you are looking to improve your walking stamina and pace – WalkActive Stroll to Stride 5 km ( Launching April 2021) with progressive audio coaching podcasts will build your cardio stamina and endurance as well as your walking technique. Enjoy!