Personal trainer Andrea Metcalf puts her quarter-century of health and fitness expertise to work for you with her Live-ilates program, based on the methods of Pilates. It combines ease of movement and structural integrity for tall posture, graceful movements and the ability to get out of bed each morning without feeling like the Tin Man in search of his oil can.
Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you'll be walking out the door. Walking is the simplest form of exercise. You can walk your dog. You can walk to work (well, not really in Chicago this time of year). You can walk over to the printer. You can walk on a treadmill. Walking is the American Heart Association's recommended way to start an exercise program. Walking with a pedometer is a great way to track your steps and really get a handle on your calorie burn and walking distance.
That being said, there are wonderful ways to get more out of your walk. You can try LEKI Nordic Walking. This program uses ski-like poles to engage your upper body, is easy on the joints and burns up to 46 percent more calories than walking without poles. You could try a technical walking or core-balancing shoe, like Skechers Shape-Ups, geared at providing an unstable walking platform, higher profile to increase hip extension and dual density midsoles to increase muscle contractions.
Walking 10,000 steps a day equals approximately 5 miles or a 500-calorie output. This amount of walking could lead to a 5-pound weight loss by the end of the month without any other changes. To improve your walking posture and alignment, I recommend my five Walk-ilates™ moves. Once you have been doing a considerable amount of walking daily, you'll find these moves help you improve your walk, strengthen and stretch the muscles around the hips and improve total movement patterns.
Step 1—Heel Walking
Walk on your heels for 30 paces at lease three times during your walk. Heel walking provides a natural stretch on your calf muscles and helps strengthen the shin muscles. The balanced muscle patterns can help prevent plantar fasciitis, a common ailment in walkers.
Step 2—Side Walking
Start walking sideways for at least 30 seconds, leading with the outer thigh and closing the step with the opposite leg. Then, return to your forward movement. Repeat this drill every minute for at least six minutes to help strengthen and stretch your IT band, inner and outer thighs and gluteal and hip rotator muscle groups.
Step 3—Crossover Walking
Start walking sideways with the back leg crossing over and then behind the lead leg. Some people call this move a "grapevine." I believe the pattern can help strengthen the smaller muscles supporting and stabilize the hip and knee joints.
Step 4—Waist Whittler Walking
Walking with arms bent and elbows out to the side at shoulder height, increase your upper body rotation and walk a little bit slower. Perform this movement pattern for one to two minutes each time you step out.
Step 5—Toe-Turned Heel Rock
Starting in a split stance and the back foot turned inward, roll the heel up and down keeping the back leg straight and the front knee bent. This heel lift and stretch will help strengthen the calf muscles and stretch the hip flexors. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.