TURN YOUR WALK INTO A WORK­OUT

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - ERNIE SCHRAMAYR Med­i­cal ex­er­cise spe­cial­ist Ernie Schramayr, CPT, helps his clients man­age med­i­cal con­di­tions with ex­er­cise. You can fol­low him at ernies­fit­ness­world.com. 905-741-7532 or ernies­fit­ness­world@gmail.com

When it comes to get­ting into great shape, walk­ing isn’t ex­actly the fastest or most ef­fi­cient way to get there. It is, how­ever, sim­ple, low im­pact, por­ta­ble ... and free! It’s an ideal choice for those look­ing to add some ac­tiv­ity to their days and it is likely one of the best ways to re­duce stress and is help­ful in ef­forts to lose weight or main­tain a healthy body weight.

While I was re­cov­er­ing from shoul­der surgery last year, I went for a walk less than 24 hours af­ter my op­er­a­tion and used walk­ing for fit­ness un­til I was able to do more ag­gres­sive forms of ex­er­cise like cy­cling, weight train­ing and jog­ging. Walk­ing is un­par­al­leled as a “bridge” ac­tiv­ity be­tween re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and fit­ness.

For some peo­ple, it is their pri­mary fit­ness choice due to chronic ill­nesses like arthri­tis or heart dis­ease and should be part of ev­ery­one’s day as they age.

Sev­eral clients have asked me pro­vide in­put on how to turn a walk into more of a “work­out” as a way to spend less time in­doors at the gym. To be able to spend time in na­ture while do­ing a com­plete fit­ness rou­tine has great ap­peal for any­one that val­ues our limited Cana­dian sum­mers!

Here then, are three ways that you can turn your daily walk into more of a work­out.

1. Add wrist and an­kle weights for in­creased re­sis­tance. Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Coun­cil on Ex­er­cise, there is ev­i­dence that adding 1 to 3 pounds to your wrists and to your an­kles can in­crease the amount of work done dur­ing your typ­i­cal walk. Heart rate may in­crease by 5 to 10 beats per minute and both caloric and oxy­gen con­sump­tion will in­crease by 5 to 15 per cent. Es­sen­tially, you get the ben­e­fits of a more stren­u­ous walk­ing work­out, without chang­ing your pace.

Along with the ben­e­fits, how­ever, there are a cou­ple of risks to be aware of. Do not walk with dumb­bells as the grip­ping can raise your blood pres­sure and do not use more than 3 pounds as the in­creased load will add stress to your shoul­ders, el­bows, knees and hips.

2. Bring a rub­ber re­sis­tance band with han­dles on your walk for a cir­cuit train­ing work­out. I like to tie the band around my waist and walk for about 5 min­utes be­fore stop­ping to ex­er­cise. At the 5 minute mark, stop and re­move the band to com­plete 20 rep­e­ti­tions of the fol­low­ing 6 ex­er­cises:

1. Chest press with the band around a pole (or tree) 2. Row­ing 3. Core ro­ta­tions 4. Tri­ceps kick­backs 5. Bi­ceps curls, stand­ing on the band 6. Body weight squats Af­ter com­plet­ing the cir­cuit of ex­er­cises, con­tinue walk­ing for 5 min­utes and re­peat 3 times with a 5 minute walk to fin­ish. You’ll have com­pleted 25 min­utes of walk­ing and 3 sets of 20 reps of each ex­er­cise.

3. If you’re look­ing to re­ally take things up a notch, there is noth­ing more chal­leng­ing than climb­ing stairs. Whether they are in­doors in your apart­ment or out­doors, such as the mul­ti­ple sets around Hamil­ton scal­ing the es­carp­ment, you’ll feel the in­creased work within min­utes of start­ing.

My favourite stair climb­ing work­out in­volves us­ing a heart rate mon­i­tor. The ones that in­clude a strap across your chest and a wrist watch re­ceiver are the most ac­cu­rate and the most con­ve­nient. Pick a train­ing zone that you’d like to work in. For me, it would be be­tween 120 and 145 beats per minute. Start climb­ing and mon­i­tor your heart rate. Climb un­til your heart rate hits the up­per limit of your train­ing zone (145 for me) and then de­scend, only to the point where your heart rate is at the lower limit (in my case, 120). When you hit the lower limit, turn around and climb un­til you get to the top or your zone. This work­out keeps you in your ideal train­ing zone, based on heart rate, bring­ing you max­i­mum ben­e­fit.

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Re­sis­tance bands are a per­fect por­ta­ble piece of ex­er­cise equip­ment to take along on your walks.

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