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Friday, November 27, 2015

Tips To Be a Better Walker

Your feet are the most important part of the Baja Walk 100. Take care of them. Join the scheduled Baja Walk Training Days. Train in the footwear, shoes and socks, that you are going wear during your challenge. Developing endurance in your feet and get some of the inevitable soreness out of the way before Baja Walk day. Gradually increase your mileage and time, and carry water (camel pac) and a snack pack to get the feel for what you will be carrying pack. Any and all walking is going to help you; walk in your neighborhood, walk with your dog, walk down the  Malecón - walk anywhere you can walk, just walk! 

TIPS FOR WALKING FASTER(info from www.thewalkingsite.com)

1. Use good posture. Walk tall, look forward, (not at the ground) gazing about 20 feet ahead. Your chin should be level and your head up.

2. Keep your chest raised, and shoulders relaxed (shoulders down, back and relaxed).

3. Bend your arms in slightly less than a 90 degree angle. Cup your hands gently. Swing arms front to back (not side to side - arms should not cross your body.) Do not swing elbows higher than your sternum (breast bone). Swing your arms faster and your feet will follow.

4. Tighten your abs and buttocks.. Flatten your back and tilt your pelvis slightly forward.

5. Pretend you are walking along a straight line. Resist the urge to elongate your steps. To go faster -- take smaller, faster steps.

6. Push off with your toes. Concentrate on landing on your heel, rolling through the step and pushing off with your toes. Use the natural spring of your calf muscles to propel you forward.

7. Breathe naturally. As you walk, take deep, rhythmic breaths, to get the maximum amount of oxygen through your system. Walk fast enough that your breathing is increased yet you are not out of breath.

WALKING DON'TS
Common mistakes made by walkers... 

1. Do not over stride
2. Do not use too vigorous arm movements
3. Do not look at the ground
4. Do not hunch your shoulders
5. Do not carry hand weights or place weights on your ankles

Post-Walking Stretching can do wonders to increase your flexibility and balance, and is very important to in get in Baja Walk 100 shape. 

Important rules for stretching:

1) Never stretch cold muscles. The best time to stretch is after your walk. If you have problem areas they can be stretched prior to your walk, but only do this after you have warmed up.

2) Do not bounce. Go into a stretch slowly and hold gently. Stretch to the point of feeling a gentle pull, but never to the point of pain

3) Hold each stretch for 30 to 40 seconds. If you have problems with a particular area stretch that area twice. (hold for 30-40 seconds release, then stretch again.)

Find a few recommended stretches below: 

Calf Stretch -- Stand on your toes on a step or curb. Hold on to something for balance. Remove your left foot and slowly allow the right heel to move down. Hold this position. Be sure to keep you body upright and straight. Release and repeat on the other side.

Another calf stretch -- Take a big step forward with your left foot, keeping you right heel on the ground. Hold the position and repeat on the other side. Be sure to keep your body upright and your abs tight, do not arch your back.

Shin Stretch -- Standing up, hold on to a stationary object. Stand with your weight on one leg and straighten it. Place your other foot on the ground, with toes pointed and your toenails toward the floor. With the tops of your toes touching the ground, roll your foot and leg forward, from the ankle. Release and repeat on the other side.

Hamstring and Lower Back -- Slowly bend forward from your waist with your knees slightly bent. Reach for the floor and hold. Only bend as far as comfortable.

Outer thigh and buttocks and spine -- While lying on your back bring your right knee up. Place your left hand on your thigh and gently pull it over to your left side. Do not pull at the knee. Your shoulders, left leg and back should remain flat. Pull gently. Then repeat on the left side.

Lower back -- While lying on your back, bring both knees up towards the chest with the hands. Round the lower back and relax into the stretch. Don't do this stretch on a hard surface...it will bruise the spine!

Quadriceps Stretch -- Standing up, hold on to a stationary object. Bend your right knee, bringing your foot toward your buttocks. Keeping your left knee slightly bent, grasp your right ankle with the opposite hand. Slowly pull your leg up and back, bringing your foot at high as comfortable. Repeat with other leg. (To protect your knee... think of pulling the quads back rather than pulling the foot toward your buttocks.)

Shoulder Stretch -- Standing upright, cross left arm over chest. Place your right hand on your upper arm and pull arm in tight to chest. Be sure to keep shoulders down and do not pull at the elbow. Hold, and then repeat stretch with other arm.

Neck Relaxer -- Turn and look over your right shoulder and hold. Repeat on the left side. Don't hyper-extend the neck, or tilt it backwards. Next, gently drop the head so that the ear goes towards the right shoulder and hold. Return to upright position. Repeat forward and on the left side. Keep the spine in an upright position and don't hyper-extend the neck, jerk, or tilt the head backwards.

Additional training: gym & weight training are great exercises for building your strength. If you interested in using the gym to do your conditioning and walking training, contact Rachel Pack for a training plan.
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What is the difference in power walking, fitness walking, and racewalking?

Fitness walking is called by many different names - power walking, fitness walking, health walking. Power walking is commonly used to represent an exaggerated walking style. This style of overstriding and exaggerated arm movements is often linked with injuries. Because of this I don't generally use the term power walking. A better term for a healthful energetic walking pace is "fitness walking".

Fitness walking is much more than a stroll or nature walk. When fitness walking you incorporate the muscles of the upper body making it a GREAT aerobic activity. It burns approximately the same calories as running, yet it is much easier on the body. Because more muscles are used it burns calories much quicker than less aggressive walking. It also tones muscles in the buttocks, thighs, hips, shoulders, upper back and abs. Most fitness walkers average about 12 to 15 minutes per mile.

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