Is it just us or has lock-down seen an insurgence of determined, lycra-clad joggers out there? From red faced newbies still getting to grips with sports watches and other newly bought tech to the more experienced effortless runners leaving the rest of us in their still-sweet-smelling wake, all of them are niggling at our conscience, ‘Shouldn’t we be jogging too?’
May is officially National Walking Month so if ever there was a month to let you off the running hook, this is it. Phew.
Not that we should be thinking that walking is some way inferior to our faster-paced fellow human beings because frankly, it isn’t. Much can be achieved from walking for our daily hour. Depending on the speed at which you walk, you can expect to burn off between 300-500 calories in 60 minutes.
Yup, walking rocks so here’s how to put your best foot forward for National Walking Month: Step aside, joggers!
Walk the walk
If you’re new to walking, start with shorter strides. Most people presume longer strides help you walk faster but this is not so. Maintain good posture by curling your pelvis under to protect your lower back then push off of the toes of your back foot, which generates a boost for your next step. Keep arms slightly bent and squeeze your glutes as you go. Your average person can walk 3-4 miles in one hour and for longer as your fitness levels and stamina increases.
So, is walking better than running?
Although running will burn off calories faster, a recent study of 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers found that over time, brisk walking cuts your risk of heart trouble by a greater amount than running and high blood pressure is reduced 7.2% by walking as opposed to just 4.2% for runners. Walking will also see far less injuries to joints, muscles and ligaments simply because your foot strikes the ground with less force. It will also boost our moods and our immune system and help strengthen our joints and muscles too. In fact, you can’t go wrong with a good stroll.
Wake up and smell the roses
Another advantage to walking it that a slower pace affords us the time to look around and actually enjoy the surrounding we are in. Whether running through a pretty park, nosing over other people’s fences or heading off road to a tranquil beautiful spring landscape, we can already feel our stress levels melting away. And breathe.
Best foot forward
So you love walking and the simple pleasure of placing one foot before the other. What else should you consider? Socks. With regular walking and warm feet comes the risk of blisters and there is nothing more irksome than a sore blister ruining or putting a stop to your daily walk. The solution? Look for double-layered walking socks. The inner liner will stay with your foot while the outer moves with your shoe eliminating the chances of getting blisters. Clever hey? Today’s technical socks also provide odour-eliminating properties or fabrics that actively keep feet cool. Look for seamless socks with padding to heels, balls of feet and added support to the Achilles tendon.
You may wish to step out to your favourite beat as walks get faster and further. Add to your walking attire with clever accessories like phone holders which you can conveniently and comfortably wear on your arm, or, comfy no-bounce waist packs to house your small essentials. Hydration is important so opt for handy hand-held bottles which will happily quench your thirst for the hour.
Yup. You can keep your faster paces activities for now. May is all about putting our very best walking feet forward. Enjoy!