After all, it's one of the first milestones we master as babies. We learn all the mechanics necessary to move forward on both feet (while staying in balance) AND paying attention to our surroundings so we don't trip and/or face plant.
I have a new-found appreciation and respect for the simple act of walking. My surgery (details HERE) was on a Thursday (June 29th), and I returned home a week later (July 6th). The following Monday (July 10th), I headed out for my first official post-op walk.
I wasn't able to go very far (around the block, slowly). The surgery left me with a 6-inch suture, strategically placed over my knee, so I had to be careful. I wasn't allowed (or able) to bend that leg much at all. All is healing well, though!
So what's to love of my current fitness (walking) routine? Let me name a few (how about...five?):
***Low-impact at its best
Although I won't be cleared to run until early September (assuming all continues to go well with my recovery), I am allowed to speed walk for now. Walking is very comparable to running (both in terms of calories burned and use of lower body) but is less stressful on the joints. Since I still don't have full range of motion in my right knee (due to the "tightness" of the suture site), walking is a perfect substitution for the time being.
Yes, it is possible to get an effective cardio session going without running. My early morning walks are between 2.5-3 miles, and that averages to be about 45 minutes of movement. I also do a few shorter walks throughout the day and evening (walking the dog, and just on my own). Each time I head out, I walk for at least 15-20 minutes (often times longer).
Have you heard of Fasted Training? That's the principle of exercising while still in a "fasted state" (usually early in the morning), after several hours since last eating. Basically, with no recent influx of fuel, the body is forced to utilize fat stores for fuel instead. Obviously, if I was embarking on a long run or walk (longer than an hour, for example), I would need some kind of fuel before heading out.
Although running and walking utilize similar mechanics (lower body...hips, legs, feet, etc.), there are some slight differences as well. From my experience, I think I have a longer stride when I'm walking...and I can feel a pretty good burn in my hamstrings. Also, my quads have really been working more than usual (probably from that long stride). Another thing I notice is that I have a definite heel strike when I walk (as opposed to a mid-foot strike when I run). As a result of these differences, I wear "older" running shoes for walking and leave my "newer" ones in the closet. I don't want my walking to interfere with the fit or the wear of my current running shoes.
As mentioned, walking is my substitute for running, but NOT a replacement. It has been great waking up and heading out the door in those early morning hours. There is nothing like the smell of freshly mowed grass, or the sound of the birds chirping, and the beauty of the eastern sky as the sun slowly makes its daily appearance. The afternoon walks feel great under the blue sky. And the evening walks are a great time for reflection and (sometimes) meditation.
Do you routinely use walking for fitness? Have you ever had to substitute walking for running? What's the longest distance you've ever walked?
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0. Please join us!!