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    Train more effectively with a heart rate monitor

     

    Today's heart rate monitors have made it easier for athletes of all levels to get the same feedback they would get from a high-priced trainer. It's like having a personal coach strapped to your wrist. Until you get a heart rate monitor, you measure your effort by time or distance. With a heart rate monitor, however, you can now get a better indication of effort. And it comes from the heart. Literally. Your heart will tell you how hard you are exercising, how fit you are, and how you are recovering. Knowing these things will make you training more effective. A heart rate monitor consists of a watch unit worn on the wrist and a chest transmitter strap. The watch can be worn as a regular sports watch, and when not connected to the transmitter strap, will still give you time of day, alarms, stopwatch functions, etc. The chest transmitter senses your heartbeat and constantly transmits that information to the watch. There are some units that don't use a chest strap. These normally measure the pulse when the user places two fingers on each of two buttons on the watch face. Pulse is a decent measurement, but does not give you the same level of continual information a chest strap will. One of the first things you need to know when using a heart rate monitor is what your maximum heart rate is. The standard formula used is to subtract your age from 220. You can then calculate at what percentage of maximum you should be exercising at. When doing cardiovascular training, research says exercising at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate will be best for fat loss and to build endurance, while exercising in the 70-80% of maximum range will increase your fitness. There are a number of features available in modern heart rate monitors. Some are more useful than others. Of course, a constant measurement of heart rate is vital. It is helpful to be able to set zone alarms or otherwise be able to see where you are compared to your maximum heart rate. Some will do all the calculations for you, telling you when to ease up or to pour it on, depending on your workout for that day. Others will just show a heart rate number, and you will need to know what the upper and lower limits are for your workout. It pays to shop around for the features you need, and not buy a lot of things you don't need. Too many extra features may confuse you and discourage you from using your heart rate monitor regularly. That's bad. It's better to get something simple that you can commit to using regularly. Still, if you can handle it, there are some sweet features available. Whatever heart rate monitor you choose, use it regularly. It will provide you so with much detailed information about your training; you'll wonder what you ever did without it, and you'll never want to be without one again.

         
    Training for the biggest event of all life

     

    "I don’t need to exercise, I run around all day." Wouldn’t it be great if that were enough? Unfortunately, although most people might consider themselves quite active at work and during their daily activities, seldom do they actually get the right amount and type of exercise. Don't get me wrong; it is a wonderful thing to be active every day. The more active you are, the more calories you will burn. Also, being active (as opposed to sitting at a desk or on the couch all day) can help improve your posture and lower your chances of experiencing neck, shoulder and back pain. However, in order to be at your best, you really need structured exercise that includes cardiovascular or aerobic training, strength training and stretching on three or more days a week. Imagine yourself training to be in a marathon. You would not simply go about your business as usual and then show up on race day expecting to run 26 miles. You would begin months before, with a training regimen so that running all those miles is much easier than if you had not trained. Running marathons might not be your cup of tea, but in reality each of us is in "training" for a very special event called "life." In life, we will have to walk from here to there, lift things and reach overhead to accomplish all the tasks we take on every day. If we train for these "events" they become that much easier to do. For instance, you may find that you are out of breath when you walk or climb stairs as you go to work, go shopping or even just around the house. This is an indication that your cardiovascular system needs some training. If you practice this task, by walking 30 to 60 minutes a day for three or more days per week, you will find that you don't tire as easily and that you breath much better. The same holds true for your level of strength. Activities that can be difficult if you don't have enough strength include picking up your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews, moving furniture to clean, hauling big rocks or piles of dirt while gardening, and carrying grocery bags. Performing strength training several times a week will make those tasks seem much easier than they used to. Adding a stretching program, such as yoga or simple static stretches, will round out the entire package. Stretching keeps your joints healthy and helps to prevent injuries such as torn muscles and back pain. Now that you know how to train for the events in your life, get out the calendar and start scheduling some time to make it happen! By Dr. Jennifer Wetmore (copyright 2006)

         
    Treadmill belt care and maintenance how important is it

     

    Regardless of the type of belt you have on your treadmill, the most important aspect of any belt is how well you take care of the belt. Many factories have decided to put warnings in their manuals to not lubricate a walking belt. The reason many do this is because of all the crazy things that people use to lube the belt. I’ve seen people use everything from motor oil to WD-40 to Crisco in order to lube the belt and you should only use a commercially available treadmill belt lube on a treadmill belt. Many other products like WD-40 or most commercially available spray silicone lubricants will ruin the backing of your walking belt. Some of these lighter lubricants can actually cause the belt to create more friction on the treadmill deck than not using any lubricant at all. Finding a lubricant that is designed just for your machine can be difficult. Most commercially available lubricants for treadmills are composed of food grade liquid silicone which has as much in common with spray silicones as a fish has with a bicycle. Other treadmill lubricants use a synthetic polymer and others use products such as Teflon or something as simple as wax. The key is to make sure you use a product that is designed to work with your treadmill and has been designed to work exclusively with treadmills. Another important point is to make sure to keep the top of the belt clean. Dirt can have its own insulating effect on the walking belt. What we suggest is buy a new pair of shoes for each person that will be using the treadmill and only use them when walking on the treadmill. This keeps dirt, road grime, sand, etc. off the top of the belt. It is surprising just how much trash can build up on a belt just from people carrying dirt on to it from their shoes. We also suggest cleaning the top of the walking belt at least once a quarter. It is easy to do and any treadmill belt cleaner along with a clean nylon bristle brush works great to keep the belt clean and running at as low a temperature as possible. Many people don’t realize the need to maintain the most important part of their treadmill. The dealers are sometimes only concerned with making the sale and getting the product out the door. Maintenance will always be a necessary part of using your treadmill and the belt is the most important part to maintain. If you maintain your belt well and keep it properly lubricated it will not only make your belt last longer, but also keep your treadmill running better for longer. It is relatively low effort and considerably cheaper than the alternative, in short, it just makes sense. So keep up with your maintenance otherwise you could have much bigger problems than you expect.

         
    Treadmill belts what s the difference

     

    Walking belts are known by many different names, but there is not a difference in the basic accepted design even though different people may not use the same term to name a walking belt. Other names are: treadmill belt, striding belt, running belt, jogging belt, bands (with the same descriptive variations), runner, and mat. For simplicity, we call it a walking belt but our terminology does not limit the type of exercise that you can do. There are different grades of walking belts and they can vary widely in terms of quality and price depending upon the type of construction. Most walking belts are made with two different types of materials that are formed together to form the finished product you see. Most people assume the belt’s top coat is rubber but most today have a PVC top coat. PVC tends to hold up better under a wide range of shoes and applications and due to its strength, many people are fooled into thinking that their belt is OK when the backing is completely worn out. The backing of the belt is the most important area. The most popular backing materials are monofilament, polyester, cotton, and urethane. Of these backings, the softer the material the less noise the belt will make. So a cotton backed belt will be much quieter than a urethane belt. The trade off is that the softer the material and the less noisy the belt the quicker the belt tends to wear out. Many companies over the last 20 years that once used cotton have now switched over to a polyester blend. The main advantage is that the belt is still rather quiet but it is more heat resistant and is tougher over the long run in its ability to withstand wear. A backing that is growing in popularity is monofilament. This uses a single type of fiber. Since it uses synthetic materials, it tends to be more heat resistant and can be formed more easily to a rougher backing that will have less surface contact with the deck. The reason this is important is that less contact area will result in less friction which puts far less strain on the motor and controller. The drawback to a monofilament belt is that it noisier than either cotton or polyester backing. Another drawback is that since it is a single fiber, it tends to have less tensile strength than woven or urethane fibers. The most expensive backing is urethane. It also tends to be the noisiest but if you maintain a urethane backing properly, we’ve seen them last over 10 years in a light commercial setting. It is a very durable material that has the best ability to withstand the rigors of heavy use and the heat buildup that is normally associated with club use. There is much confusion about layers of a walking belt. Most companies advertise a 2 ply belt but some claim as many as 4 plies. The confusion arises because more layers is not necessarily a better thing. As HealthRider found out several years ago, a very thick belt can be a disaster. HealthRider took a standard 2 ply belt and then glued a layer of carpeted neoprene to the top of a standard belt. The result was a 3 ply (or 4 ply depending upon how you interpret the final addition to the belt) which now had a nice insulation layer of neoprene that did an incredible job of holding in heat and emphasized the potential problem of using a multi-layered belt. Even in a residential setting, the HealthRider belts simply fell apart from the wide variance in heat they experienced. Fortunately for the consuming public HealthRider stopped using these belts a few years ago. Other companies will advertise an orthopedic belt that has either additional layers or a thicker top layer that helps cushion the foot fall. Once again, our big problem with these belts is heat problems and the fact that many of these belts can weigh as much as 3 to 4 times as much as a regular 2 ply belt. The heavier the belt, the harder the drive system has to work to keep moving the belt aroundbine that with the heat problems inherent in a thicker belt – remember, its’ better insulated – and you can quickly see why we aren’t big fans of the orthopedic belts. If you are choosing a new treadmill pay attention to the walking belt. It is the heart of a treadmill despite popular opinion naming another part. If you already have a treadmill, maintain your belt and keep it clean and your treadmill will thank you for it in the long run.

         
    Treadmills are an essential part of any gym

     

    Treadmills are an essential part of any gym, as they simulate two of the best kinds of exercise there are: walking and running. While you could just as well go for a walk or run outside, a treadmill allows you to do it in a comfortable, controlled environment, where you can exactly set the speed you want and how long you want to run for, and measure your performance against the last time. Because the treadmill knows all the conditions of your walk or run, it can even calculate things like how much energy you have used in calories. You can also get treadmills to use in your home, which means that you can do things like watch TV while you use it, instead of having to brave the elements outside. It is an easy way to get a workout, as walking and running are things that we all know instinctively how to do, and are very unlikely to do incorrectly as can be the case with some more complicated exercises. However, treadmills can also have downsides. They can take up a lot of space in your house or flat if you don’t have a dedicated exercise room, and they are often very bulky to carry from one place to another, often making it impractical to have the treadmill where you’d most like it to be. Cheap treadmills can also have very loud motors, making running on them for long periods of time unpleasant, and it can also often be boring to run on a treadmill for too long, as your surroundings don’t change. Finally, it is worth noting that running on a treadmill isn’t really much good for training to run outside, for example in a marathon or some other sport. The treadmill cannot accurately simulate the resistance caused against your body by air rushing past you, as you are not actually moving. Training on a treadmill may also caused you to move your arms unrealistically, a habit that can be hard to break when running for real, and the soft surface of a treadmill is not a good simulation of a real track or field. Treadmills can make good exercise machines, but as training for running they leave much to be desired.

         
    Treadmills vs. exercise bike

     

    Many people in this day and age know that the key to a long life is to eat healthy and perform regular exercise. This fact has made gym memberships and home health equipment surge in the last decade. Many people choose the latter due to the fact of ease of use in their own home and not having to deal with gym rats. There are hundreds of types of exercise equipment on the market, but the most popular are treadmills and exercise bikes. The major problem most people find with at home exercise equipment is overcoming boredom. The only thing that seems to work on boredom on a treadmill is a TV or watching an exercise program. The same is true on an exercise bike, but some bikes allow you to plug into a TV or video game so that you may visually pedal thru a course. Recumbent bikes allow your hands to be free so that you may use the phone, magazine or book. Safety on a Treadmill or Bike If safety is a major concern due to age or injury, obviously the exercise bike is the safest for either. Not only while on a treadmill do you have to worry about a misstep, but also if you have children they can endanger the user or themselves. If a ball or any other item is placed under the deck and belt the treadmill can abruptly stop, or little fingers and hands can be hurt by putting them in places they don’t belong. With treadmills you also have to remember that you are putting much more stress on your joints. With an upright exercise bike users may stress your back while trying to reach handle bars. Recumbent bikes are said to sometimes improve existing back pain by forcing proper posture and giving you support while exercising. Exercising on a bike compared to a treadmill will reduce joint stress and injury. Calorie Burn On average a treadmill will burn more calories per hour than an exercise bike. NordicTrack conducted a study using different types of exercise equipment and they found that all at the same intensity the treadmill and ski machine burned more calories per hour than any other piece of equipment. If you are interested in losing weight, a treadmill is the way to go! If you are a healthy individual with no joint problems or health problems you can expect to lose about 750 calories per hour on a treadmill compared to 550 calories on a bike. The key to losing weight is thru vigorous activity which a treadmill can allow. Conclusion Both exercise bikes and treadmills are wonderful options for anyone interested in losing weight or improving health. The major decision is what you are truly interested in achieving, and if you feel that you will be able to stick with your program long term. Long term success is determined by long term usage, so pick wisely, or even better choose both if your wallet can afford the investment.

         
    Trying to get back in shape

     

    If you have taken a layoff from your exercise program it’s tough to get motivated to start back into your training regimen again. What you have to do is set some realistic attainable "written"goals to help push you. The reason I have emphasized “written” is because if you don’t write your goals down they are merely wishes. Studies have proven over and over that writing your goals down is powerful. Let’s look at some examples. If you want to get back into running, walk first. Depending upon your level of fitness you may only start with fifteen or twenty minutes. If you have some level of fitness start with 30 minutes and gradually increase it. Once you have been walking for a couple of weeks ease back into running by alternating walking and running. Walk for ten minutes and run for five and so on. As you increase your level of fitness and your soreness lessens increase the running until you get back to running for thirty to forty five minutes at a time. If you have been involved in weight training in the past and have taken a layoff of more than a couple of months you really need to take it slow coming back. With weight training, if you push to hard to early you can end up damaging supporting tendons and ligaments. The key is not to rush in trying to use the same weights you were using and do less sets. What I do after a long layoff is go to the gym and ride the stationary bike for 15-2o minutes first to warm my body up. Next, I will choose only one body part per day to exercise. If you are an older person or have a larger frame you may want to continue this type of program even after your initial break in period. Let’s look at working the chest for example. If I were bench pressing 300 pounds prior to my layoff I will begin my first work out with 135 pounds and do 3 or 4 sets of high reps in the 15-20 range. Adjust your weights accordingly. Then I may do 3 sets of flat dumbbell flyes again with higher reps so as not to place to much stress on my tendons and ligaments. Follow these same guidelines for all body parts and increase the weights and reps slowly and within a month you will be right back to hard training again and working towards your goals.

         
    Turn down the suck in fitness

     

    Exercise is good for you – there’s simply no doubt about it! However, I still meet clients on a daily basis who’ve vowed to dedicate themselves to an exercise program, only to quit after a month. Let’s face it, North Americans start and stop their fitness programs more frequently than they change their underwear. I understand that buying gym memberships and large pieces of fitness equipment is downright unaffordable to much of the population – especially when that membership looses itself in the back of your wallet or that high-tech treadmill is being used as the most expensive clothes rack your basement has ever seen. When I became a certified personal trainer I soon learned after talking to clients, and seeing them come to the gym for a while only to suddenly disappear, that the key to a successful fitness program is fun! That’s right exercise should be fun. I mean who ever said it should be a boring, tedious vacuum of your valuable time? For some reason fitness has negative connotations for many new clients that I’ve met recently. I hear “exercise is just too boring” and “if I exercise I’ll have no social life” all the time when I meet new clients. The fact is that we all lead very busy lives and exercise is often figured into it as an afterthought behind work, family, social outings and even poker night. So let’s face it if exercise is just another leisure activity on your weekly schedule it has to be something you’ll look forward to or you simply won’t stick to it. That’s why I encourage everyone who visits my website, fitnessgear101.com, to switch up the word 'exercise' for ‘leisure activity’. After all, you would be certain to pen a social outing with your girlfriends into your daily planner, so why not get the girls together and go to a spin class or on a power walk? In this day and age, fitness takes up on average an hour, 4-days a week of the average person’s time. So basically it has to be fun or people simply won’t put in that extra hour. The good news is that entertaining workouts have hit the fitness scene in a big way this year. Many are largely dance-inspired – including belly dancing, cardio strip, pole dancing and salsa dance workouts. I tried a pole dancing-strip cardio workout with a few of my girlfriends a couple weeks ago, and trust me it had me laughing so hard, that alone gave my abdominal muscles a workout. We started with pole dancing - which is far more challenging than it looks. Believe me, it takes a large amount of upper body strength to keep yourself suspended from a pole, and swinging yourself around it is reasonably cardiovascular. The cardio strip was more like the sweaty high-intensity cardio workouts that I’m used to. The workout mimicked exotic dance movements, so the hip thrusts, kicks and abdominal twisting works parts of your body you didn’t know existed. See, there’s absolutely no reason why fitness can’t be fun. Start by searching your local community centers and gyms for an activity that you really enjoy. Try tango lessons with your significant other, a bonding session of mother/baby yoga, a high-octane cardio kickboxing session with your best friend – all followed by a healthy lunch. By turning simple daily activities into something more rewarding, you get your fun social gathering and your workout in too!

         
    Upper back exercises for a strong back

     

    : The back supports the weight of the upper body and has to be strong to carry out its work unhindered. People focus on strengthening their lower back, but upper back muscles too need toning up. A well toned back looks good and helps in maintaining correct posture. Upper back exercises are a good way of strengthening the upper back. Some effective upper back exercises are mentioned below. Upper Back Exercises Women would rather have a well-toned upper body, whereas men prefer a muscular back. Dumbbell pullovers and dumbbell rows are effective upper back exercises. Dumbbell Pullover: You will need a narrow workout bench. Lie with the workbench supporting the upper back and neck, and your head leaning over one end. Place one leg each on either side of the bench with feet firmly placed on the ground. Lift the dumbbell over your face with arms stretched out. Slowly lower the dumbbell over your head in an arc; hold, and bring it back to original position. Initially do five repetitions and gradually raise the count to fifteen. Another variation of this upper back exercise is to hold the dumbbell with bent arms. With elbows bent, slowly lower the dumbbell over your head in an arc; hold, and then gently pull back the dumbbell to original position. Initially do five repetitions and gradually raise the count to fifteen. Dumbbell Row: Place the dumbbell on the right side of the bench, and your left leg on the bench with the right foot firmly placed on the floor. Leaning forward, place the left hand on the bench in front of the body. Your back should be in horizontal position. Pick up the dumbbell and raise your arm slowly upwards until your upper arm is in level with your upper body; hold, and take back your arm to the original position. Initially do five repetitions and gradually raise the count to fifteen. Now, repeat the exercise with the left arm. These upper back exercises are a great way to build a strong upper back that add to the ‘V’ shape of the body.

         
    Use a deck of cards for an aerobic workout

     

    The Deck of Cards. The first time I heard about this was an in article about Clive (Iron Fist) Myers. It was one of his favourite routines. The idea is very easy to put into practise and will help build stamina, strength and energy. All you need is a deck of cards and some space to exercise. You could do this routine while on vacation if you want to maintain peak fitness. First you need to decide on 3 exercises to do 1. Chest 2. Legs 3. Abdominals. 1. push ups. 2. Free standing squats. 3. Crunches. Each exercise will be done in strict form with no cheating. For the push ups, start in the low position and push up with slow steady motion until the top of the movement and then slowly lower back down under control. Breathe in as you go down and in as you push back up. This is one rep. Free standing squats, fold your arms across your chest and perform deep knee bends slowly, under full control. At the bottom of the movement push with your thighs and come back to the top position. Breathe in as you go down and out as you come up. Crunches, start by lying on your back on the floor with your feet on a bench or chair. Hold your hands beside your head (NOT BEHIND). Raise your upper body from the floor as high as you can. Breathe out as you raise and in as you lower your upper body. Do not hold you hands behind your head and pull as this will put excessive strain on your neck. Now take the deck of cards including the jokers. Give it a good shuffle and turn over the top card. Whatever the value of this card is the number of reps for the exercise. Face card values Jack 11 Queen 12 King 13 Ace 14 Joker 15 With each card you turn over, do that amount of reps for the exercise, and then turn the next card over and move onto the next exercise. When you are starting you may be unable to do a full deck of cards. No problem. Start with the number cards up to the eight. Add one more card at the beginning of each workout until you can use the full deck. Make sure to breathe regularly as you perform these exercises and do not hold your breath at any time. Shuffle the deck of cards each time you work out as the will randomize the number of each exercise. You can change the exercises if you are unable to do the ones recommended. There are a multitude of variations on free standing exercises that can be performed with little or no equipment. If you do change the exercises try to do one upper, one middle and one lower body exercise. The main idea is that you move from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible to keep up your heart rate and build up aerobic endurance. When you have done this routine for a while you will be able to complete this workout in 20 minutes. If you want to you could add another deck of cards or two. I recommend that you do this routine every other day to improve your health. There is no reason why it could not be done daily if you wanted to. The purpose of this workout or any other fitness program you undertake is to make you fitter and healthier. If you start to feel unwell or have any pain while working out, slow down and listen to your body. As with any new program it is recommended that you start slowly and build up gradually as you gain experience. Even Arnold had to start with low weights and learn from more experienced bodybuilders. This article is provided as entertainment and no responsibility can be taken for loss or injuries incurred during physical exercise. If you have not undertaken any form of exercise for a while, please consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Fitness is not a competition with anyone else. It is just for you, so find what you enjoy and go have some fun.

         
    Use caution when exercising in the heat

     

    : It is the dog days of summer, and here in North Carolina it is Hot and Steamy. I'm talking Tarzan jungle hot. It is hot enough that I am making several adjustments to my exercise routine. I normally run outside every day, but this is the time of the year when I least appreciate it. Consequently I am using the elliptical trainer a few days a week, and the other days I head out for a real good sweat. I’m one of those people who sweat profusely. By the time I am done my body and my gym clothes are soaked. This means I am draining some serious fluids, which is not a problem as long as I adequately replace them, and I monitor any abnormal physical symptoms. Heat related illnesses are usually due to people ignoring the warning symptoms.

    They include weakness, dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps and nausea. This means you need to be aware of your mental state. What appears to be fatigue can progress to unconsciousness. So I have been doing my research and have come up with a list of valuable suggestions to make certain you summer outdoor workouts are healthy and rewarding: Stay Hydrated Even in cooler temperatures, there is a tendency not to adequately replace expended body fluids. In the summer it is an absolute necessity. It is important to drink water or sports beverages before and after your workout. If you are engaging in extended outdoor exercise (running, walking, bicycling), replace fluids periodically. For runners, consider a hydration pack. If you do not maintain your fluid levels you risk circulatory failure. If you are exercising for an hour or less, water is sufficient. Longer than an hour and you need to replace carbohydrates. Warmer weather metabolizes these substances faster. Consider one of the popular sports drinks that contain carbs. Time of Day When they are predicting some scourging weather, schedule your workout early in the morning or later in the evening. Avoid the mid-day heat and humidity. Workout indoors if that is the only time you have to exercise Humidity Be aware of the relative humidity. The body responds to overheating by the evaporation of moisture through perspiration. When the humidity is high, the air is less capable of evaporating excess moisture. Consequently your natural cooling mechanism is compromised. Monitor your vitals. If you start to feel light headed, or you feel completely drain, immediately stop, find a place to cool off and once again replace those vital fluids. Cool Clothing No, I am not talking about the latest fashions. When exercising in heat you do not want clothing that will retain heat. That includes cotton apparel. Go for synthetic breathable fabrics that release moisture from your body and allow efficient airflow. Hats are good for preventing the sun from heating up the blood vessels lining your scalp. But remove the hat occasionally to let the heat escape. Problems of Pollution Due to some misguided political policies and our desire to drive gas-guzzling vehicles, the air quality in urban environments in the summer often sucks. During days when there are orange, red or even purple alerts it is best to limit your outdoor activities. And air pollution is not limited to just cities. For example, the air quality in the mountains of North Carolina during the summer can be equivalent to the air in Los Angeles. The trees are actually dying in the high altitudes. Furthermore, the air quality in a number of our national parks and beaches can be potentially hazardous during the summer months. Excessive physical exertion in areas of poor air quality can be detrimental to your health. The summer offers an incredible opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature while you exercise. A walk or run on a tree-lined trail or sandy beach surely beats the congestion of a health club. But when it heats up outside use common sense and caution. And if those dog days of summer start barking consider heading indoors.

         
    Walk 10 000 steps to improve health and fitness

     

    It’s a fact, America is becoming obese at an alarming rate and the rest of the world is following close behind. We are eating more (and more of the wrong stuff) and exercising less or getting no exercise at all. Our health is in steep decline and doctor and hospital visits are at all time highs. Just a brisk 30-minute walk a day can begin to turn that around. You name it, we have it, and it’s getting worse. Heart and cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, out of control blood sugar levels, diabetes, obesity, and more. The U. S. Surgeon General recommends getting at least 20-30 minutes of moderate activity each day and many of us are falling far short of even that. Studies show the average person takes about 3000 to 5000 steps a day, and some even much less. Let’s face it, we just do not get the exercise our ancestors did a hundred or so years ago and we tend to eat more refined foods. For some of us, most of steps we take are from the easy chair in front of the TV to the fridge so we can fill up on snacks. For others, like me, we sit at a computer all day as part of our jobs. Many fitness experts recommend we walk 10,000 steps a day to maintain our weight and overall good health. 10,000 steps are approximately 5 miles, give or take depending on the length of your stride. You will need to purchase and wear a pedometer to count how many steps you take each day. Follow the directions that usually come with the pedometer. Do this for a week or two and you will get a good average step count. Your goal is to reach 10,000 or more steps each day. There is nothing magical about 10,000, but it will put you in the right ballpark. As a general rule, a person will burn about 100 calories walking a mile, depending on age, size, and fitness level. The heavier you are, the more calories you will burn. Become creative on ways to increase your steps. At work, go for walks at lunchtime. Go for walks with your spouse or children. Walk the dog. Walk to the store instead of driving, or park at the far end of the parking lot. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. For me, I take brisk 2-mile walks around the neighborhood twice a day everyday (aerobic walking). Just do whatever works best for you, but do it! You will need good walking shoes and socks to prevent injury when walking for exercise (like aerobic walking). Go to your favorite search engine and type in “10,000 steps” to learn more about this life saving, life changing program. The information is abundant.

         
    Walking for health and friendship

     

    Many studies show that walking is good for your health, but sometimes it helps to get out of the "around the block" rut and into something more challenging and fun. Long-distance walking events help get you in shape--and if you walk for a good cause, your stroll can raise funds for groups that need it. An added bonus: Walking as part of a team can increase the enjoyment, keep you focused and build great friendships. But what is a walking team? In the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, teams include two people or dozens-women and men, neighbors, colleagues, family, spouses or new acquaintances, from the same town or across the country-who share a commitment to taking personal steps (literally) in the fight against breast cancer. One team that takes humor in stride is the "Back of the Pack Walkers." It consists of nearly 10 women who come together each year for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Washington, D. C. They walk in memory of a friend, Robyn Cain, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2004. Team Captain Candi Hoffman says that "after spending so much time together, training and at the Walk, I consider the girls on my team to be some of my closest friends." "Team Maureen" is a fixture at the Avon Walk Chicago, with team members participating as walkers, volunteers and cheerleaders, all in bright green shirts. According to Donna Lahey, "Team Maureen" Walker Captain, the 2006 team has 64 members from age 1 to 81. The team is named for Maureen Buescher, who died of breast cancer in 2002. It includes family and friends who walk for their own health and the health of all women. Mike McElduff has put a unique spin on the team concept by leading "Team Peggy's Spirit," named for his mother, at all eight Avon Walk events across the country from April to October. "Peggy's Spirit" includes McElduff's siblings, friends and solo walkers who are seeking camaraderie as they tackle the long walk.

         
    Walking in the uk

     

    : Walking in the UK and Walking holidays in the UK are becoming increasingly popular as a result of the huge diversity of the UK’s landscape and the good road and rail network that make the national parks easily accessible. All levels and types of walking are available from the stark and challenging mountains of the Inverness Highlands to the gentle rolling countryside of the Downs. The most popular areas for walking in the UK are Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons, Cairngorms, Cheviot Hills, Chilterns, Cotswolds, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Grampians, Inverness, Lake District, Loch Lomond, Mendip Hills, Nevis Range, New Forest, North York Moors, Northumberland National Park, Peak District, Pennines , Ribble Valley, Salisbury Plains, Snowdonia, Solway Coast, Thames Valley, The Downs, Yorkshire Dales. The landscape in the different areas is as a result of thousands of years of changing climate. The most significant period that resulted in the current landscape was the last ice age where most of the area now known as Britain was covered in a huge ice sheet. As the ice sheet moved across the United Kingdom it cut great swathes through the landscape. These changes were then further developed as the receding melt water flooded down the newly cut glacial valleys cutting rivers, gorges and valleys. Big piles of rock that had been caught up in the ice sheet were also dropped back onto the landscape creating moraines which are a regular feature of the current British Landscape. The UK has been exceptionally well mapped and various scales of map are available and cover the whole of the UK. The National Parks in particular are extremely well mapped. It is always advisable to carry a good local map when you go walking and a compass, whistle and waterproof jacket (British weather is famously changeable). Footpaths are generally well signposted but in some more remote areas this may not be the case. For the best sign posted routes it is best to stick to the large national routes that are maintained by national government.

         
    Walking the nordic way

     

    If you're looking for a workout that burns more calories in less time, Nordic walking may just be the thing for you. Nordic walking is the exercise done on modified ski poles that can be done the whole year round, and not just when it's snowing. Nordic walking evolved from evolved from another type of exercise more commonly known as ski-striding, which was an off-season activity that enabled people to become more accustomed to the skis. This was first popularized as a year-round activity in Finland by cross-country skiers for off-season training — known to be the most fit athletes in the world. It was from this place where Nordic walking was aptly coined — although in Finland, this sport is referred to as sauvakдvely, or "pole walking". Although initially this fitness regimen did not spread so quickly — with it first being promoted in 1980 until the first official Nordic walker ski poles were introduced to the public in 1997 — it has soon become the fastest growing recreational fitness sports in the world. By the end of 2005, the estimated number of Nordic walkers has been pegged at a whopping 5 million people. How has Nordic walking received such a level of attention? By making the upper body do its work as well as the lower, it has taken a step towards ordinary fitness walking or running to a new level — enabling the body to burn up to 50% more calories without having to walk faster or longer. Nordic walking includes several other benefits, such as: 1. Heart rate is about 13% or 5-17 beats higher than regular walking 2. Poles help traction on slippery surfaces, thus becoming a safety factor 3. Burns about 400 calories per hour, beating regular walking which only burns about 280 calories 4. Increased overall endurance 5. Aids in climbing hills and other elevated areas more easily 6. Improved balance and stability 7. Less stress applied on back and lower joints, thus lessening chances of injury 8. Lateral mobility of neck and spine is increased significantly, thus releasing muscle tension in these specific regions Nordic walking, with the specific modified poles, is proving to be an overall bodily workout that caters to people of all levels, whether it's for rehabilitation or relaxing, weight management or increasing aerobic capacity, up to Nordic walking as a physical challenge. Of course, it is important to choose not just any poles for any Nordic walking activity. Here are some tips to choosing the best Nordic poles for your specific needs. 1. It must be sturdy and light enough to be able to bring anywhere. 2. The grips should be comfortable and interchangeable. 3. Asphalt paws are more efficient at absorbing shock and gripping. 4. Straps must be specifically designed allowing for easier transfer of power and weight. When deciding the height or length of these poles, the elbows are just perpendicular to the poles when held by the grip with the tip on the ground. Nordic walking will need some getting used to, therefore specific training is advised. With Nordic walking gaining more and more walkers every day, looking for an instructor is not hard to find. There is an organization on this sport called International Nordic Walking Association which aims to unite all Nordic walkers out there. If your country is a participant, you can probably find a Nordic walking session somewhere. Otherwise, why don't you go and pioneer Nordic walking in your city. Nordic walking seems to be something that will very well take over the world with its ski poles and a promise of overall body fitness. It just might be the next big thing — showing no signs of going away soon.

         
     
         
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