Power Walking - Moving as You Were Meant to Move

Power walking is wonderful exercise.

You can establish a pace which works wonders for your body, mind, and spirit.

Lots of people do it at a gym on a treadmill - but I really prefer the great outdoors.

There's just nothing like fresh air and open space to stimulate your mind and raise your spirits.

Strictly speaking, power walking involves a lengthy stride and a pace that raises your heart rate to a point where you can almost feel or hear the heart.

Some people define the heart rate to be in the range of 60-80% of some pre-defined maximum.

But if you're in really great shape, you'll have to really push yourself to actually hear the heart or to reach some predetermined rate.

If you should be new to the idea, first make sure that you can be completely comfortable with ordinary walking for a period of time exceeding 30 minutes of continuous walking.

Even relaxed walking is beneficial.

Joyce's chiropractor, who is a very well schooled kineseologist, strongly recommended an hour-long walk every day. He told her that her arms should be freely swinging, and that she should be moving along quickly.

She's now 65 years old, and has been enjoying her daily walks every day for about 10 years.

When I go with her I find it to be a challenge to keep up with her, and I'm about 10 inches taller with longer legs.

If the temperature is below 30 degrees, or if the wind is blowing or it's snowing, there's a big indoor mall nearby where she walks.

For those who enjoy running or jogging, walking may seem too tame - but it's really not.

I ran nearly daily for exercise for about 16 years, and it was a bit hard on the joints.

So about 12 years ago I switched to bicycling with some running for shorter distances.

Now Joyce bikes a couple of times a week also, but she still does her power walk every day as well.

But power walking is really enough for most folks.

I can see that for some individuals, using the treadmill indoors would have its advantages - and there's nothing wrong with that practice.

Lots of people choose to use the treadmill which can be programmed for various rates and grades.

Some like to watch the tube or read a book while exercising.

One disadvantage is that it seems to be necessary to hang on with both hands while on the treadmill. There's a definite advantage to being able to freely swing the arms.

It's really not necessary to go that far.

Whatever is comfortable is still very beneficial.

The physical benefits of walking are probably enough to justify the time required - but the additional benefits can make it mandatory for your mental and emotional health.

The rhythm and movement - the coordinated swing of the arms, allowing your mind to be aware of the easy footwork along with your breathing - and if you can actually detect your heartbeat, so much the better.

If there's a gentle breeze you get a bonus.

I know that lots of people love to walk and talk at the same time. Nothing wrong with that - well, almost nothing.

I think it's great, part of the time.

But, having walked together for a lot of years, Joyce and I seem to prefer silence. She walks every single day - so she often walks alone.

Silence is relative, of course. There are always the birds along with dogs barking and children playing.

Maybe a little too infrequently we walk through a wildlife area.

What an incredible treat!

Now the special odors enter the picture - especially if your trail takes you along the side of lakes or ponds, or streams - OMG, the streams.

Here in Colorado it's not too hard to find amazing places to walk - even in the city.

If we decide to take the time, we can drive for about 75 minutes and be in Rocky Mountain National Park.

There are lots of places, closer, too.

But being in the park during the off-season can be like being in heaven.

If walking involves some uphill terrain it may be more accurately described as hiking - but the benefits are multiplied.

Another wonderful place to walk is on the beach during the times we're in California.

What's your favorite place to walk?

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