New Types of Walking
You’ve tried taking different routes and walking with a friend, but it still feels a little ho-hum.
Try these creative twists to keep walking interesting. To experience a mental and physical workout, try ChiWalking. Stressing good posture and proper breathing, ChiWalking incorporates the principles of tai chi with walking.
“It is a mindful practice because it requires focusing the mind to direct the movements,” explains Katherine Dryer, co-founder of ChiWalking. For example, if your shoulders are stiff, you would focus your mind on keeping them relaxed and swinging your arms. During ChiWalking, instead of letting your mind wander and thinking about your to-do list or even the scenery, you pay attention to your movements.
As a physical practice, ChiWalking emphasizes walking with good posture – and a slight lean forward – while keeping your core muscles tight, joints loose and arms and legs relaxed. It’s based on five steps: aligning your body, engaging your core muscles, creating balance throughout your body, choosing to walk regularly, and then continually increasing your practice. According to Dryer, ChiWalking is easy on the joints. It also improves balance and allows practitioners to walk further with less effort.
To learn more about ChiWalking, go to www.chiwalking.com.
To burn more calories, try Nordic walking. At first, strolling down the sidewalk using a pair of modified ski poles to help propel you might seem odd, but consider this: Nordic walking burns up to 20 percent more calories. Plus, the poles provide extra support if you have poor balance and reduce strain on knees.
Nordic walking allows walkers to transfer the impact from their legs to the poles, making exercising more comfortable. The poles also encourage proper walking technique and give your upper body a workout as you walk.
“It combines the advantages of fitness walking and cross-country skiing,” says Bernd Zimmermann, founder of the American Nordic Walking Association. “It is a very efficient full-body workout for walkers at all levels.”