FEAT: 14 Fitness Tips for Outdoor Walking
The warmer, but not yet blistering, weather is calling everyone outside and Edmond walking trails are the place to be. The fresh air is no longer brisk. The flowers and trees are in bloom. And, unless allergies are getting the better of you, taking advantage of Edmond’s trail system, as well as stretching out on walking paths in your own neighborhood, is one of the best solutions to get you moving, more active, and primed for the high-energy summer months.
To help you get started, we asked four of Edmond’s experts on fitness and health to give us their best outdoor walking tips:
Jennifer Foster, co-owner, Red Rock Fitness & Training
1 Start gradually, then increase distance and speed. If you’ve been mostly sedentary during the winter, she recommends beginning at one mile.
2 Walking on dirt paths and grass are best, when possible. This is easier on joints than asphalt or sidewalks.
3 Safety should always be a priority, so walk with a dog, a partner, or carry pepper spray. Maintain situational awareness. And avoid hitting the trails early in the morning or late at night.
4 Don’t just visit one walking trail. Pick out three and alternate. The variety will keep your workout more interesting and engaging.
5 To add fun to your walks, incorporate walking apps like Nike+ Run Club, Zombies, Run!, or Beat-Burn.
Denise Springer, owner/instructor, You Power Yoga
6 Use your walking time to quiet your mind and meditate. Focus on the sites, sounds, smells, and textures around you. Notice the different hues of green in the trees and grass. Hear and feel the breeze. Focus on the sounds of the birds. Keep all your thoughts in the present moment. This can help you quiet the mental busyness.
Carrie Kincade, owner/personal trainer, Wise Training & Fitness
7 Start with 20 minutes three days a week of cardiovascular activity. If that’s still too intense, set a pace and distance that works for you, such as walking around the block or walking to your mailbox, and increase as you are able.
8 For those ready, incorporate strength training into your walk easily by adding lunges, side lunges, and squats.
9 Playground equipment, tree stumps, and staircases can be used to help create a full-body workout and build muscle. For example, do push-ups against tree trunks or off park benches.
10 While walking, focus on tightening your mid section to increase core strength.
James Drain, pedorthist/owner, Elite Feet
11 When transitioning from walking/running on tread mills to walking/running outside, start slow to avoid injury. Due to the fact you are using different muscles and using them differently outside than on a treadmill, you can begin to experience issues, such as shin splints and plantar fasciitis, if not done gradually. Your shoe needs may also change.
12 If you want to work up to a run, incorporate the walk/run technique. One popular method is to jog for 30 seconds, walk a minute and a half. As this becomes easier over time, increase the run time and decrease the walk time.
13 Warm up before your walk instead of stretching, in order to decrease your risk of tearing or straining muscles.
14 Don’t push too hard when shifting from a gym workout to an outdoor workout. If you walk or run three miles on a treadmill, start walking or running one mile outdoors. Give your muscles time to adjust, strengthen, and adapt to different movements.