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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Different Kind of Power Walking

Adding weights to your walking routine is a fun way to take your walking up a notch. It's a great way to mix it up when you're getting bored with your workouts and it's a great way to boost your upper body muscle tone while getting in your cardio for the day. It burns more calories than just walking alone, so it's a winner all around. All you need are some very light hand weights or some wrist weights if you've got 'em. 2-3 pounds for each hand should do it. I just bought a pair and am loving them. I highly recommend high-tailing it to your local athletic store to get your hands on some. If it's feasible, maybe you could even walk or ride your bike to go purchase them. They're great!

Start off just walking to get warmed up. 5 minutes or so should do the trick. While you're warming up your legs, try to get your arms swinging too. Start to feel comfortable with the weights. Get your upper body loosened up and ready to work hard too while your legs are carrying you. Now you're ready to really get the fun started.

Start off by pumping your arms with a biceps curl motion while keeping a steady speed with your walking. Be sure to curl all the way up and then straighten your arms by your sides without locking your arms. Try to get in at least 25 repetitions per arm. Go back to regular walking for at least 1 minute.

Next, work those shoulders. Do some bent-arm shoulder raises while walking. Hold your arms at 90 degree angles, like you're halfway through a biceps curl, and lift your arms out to your sides so that your elbows are in a horizontal line with your shoulders. Hold those 90 degree angles at your elbows. Pause, then lower. Repeat at least 25 times. Return to regular walking for 1 minute.

Now we're on to triceps. Extend your arms straight up in the air with your palms facing each other above your head. Bend at the elbows to form 90 degree angles, keeping your palms facing each other and pause before returning to your original position. You can do one arm at a time or both at the same time, whatever is most comfortable to you. Repeat at least 25 times before returning to regular walking for at least 1 minute.

How about one more shoulder exercise so we all look good in our tank tops this summer? Try doing overhead presses with your palms facing in front of you while you walk. Again, go for high reps of at least 25. Feel the burn. Return to regular walking for at least 1 minute after your overhead extensions.

You can continue that pattern several times, or if you're feeling bold, you can try out some other exercises while you're walking as well. Be sure to go for high reps and pay attention to your form. I found I liked to do some punches with the wrist weights while I was walking. Front jabs and overhead jabs worked well. I was able to get even higher reps with them. I also tried really swinging my arms and working hard to focus on my muscles, all the way down to their tiny fibers, while I walked. Throughout the entire workout, be sure to maintain a decent speed with your walking while you're getting those arms into it. You want to be sure you get your heart rate up. Also, be sure to smile and have fun with it. I found that the more I got into my workout, the more I fell into a rhythm with the repetitions and had a blast. I hope you do too.

Don't forget to cool down when you're done and do some stretching. Also, be sure to hydrate and eat a balanced recovery meal since you just worked your muscles. They earned it. Now go enjoy the rest of your day. Make it great!

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