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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Walking as a Fitness Augmentation to Sporting Activities



Those who engage in high intensity sports like self-defense, running, fencing, dance or anything else love to push their bodies to the limits in terms of cardiovascular exertion, flexibility, and pace. There are times when simply augmenting a regular fitness routine with walking is a benefit to both recovery as well as future growth. All bodies must slow down for a short time to regenerate and prepare for better performance in the near future. Walking is one way to stay active while still affording an opportunity to continue conditioning for peak performance. 

Let us assume that you had a rigorous week engaging in one of your sporting routines. You pushed your body to the limit and you have that achy feeling that lasts past 2 days, thirsty, and lethargic that may indicate that you are over trained (1). You will need some time to recover but don’t want to sit on the couch for days on end. You may want to consider walking as an alternative until your body recovers. 

Besides recovery, walking can also improve coordination, balance, health, weight loss, and bone strength (2). Therefore, your time at rest is not really at rest but refocusing on different aspects of your body. This is helpful in balancing your sports routine to ensure that you are not overly redundant on a single movement or activity that leads to injury. 

Walking should be brisk, raise the heart rate, and engaged in 3-4 times a week for 30-60 minutes. This allows for fill-in sports activities as well as general improvement in health. Before starting one should buy proper shoes and loose fitting clothing that help to avoid injury while still maintaining a reasonable level of activity. Try walking on different types of terrain such as a park or mountain to change intensity. 

Another option for walking is to use it as a warm up before engage in a more rigorous sporting activities. For example, before you play basketball, tennis, fencing, self-defense or anything else that will require high exertion you may want to walk for a half hour first to warm up the body, stretch the legs, and reduce chances of injury. 

According to the U.S. Surgeon General nearly half the population doesn’t engage in any fitness routine or regular physical activity so you should feel proud of your accomplishments (3).  This means that a great portion of society is a risk for various types of diseases and ailments that may be avoided. Proper eating and consistent fitness routines are important for overall mental and physical health. 

Your employer may also enjoy your activities that can improve their bottom line. Regular fitness improved productivity $2,500 a year while each $1 spent reduced medical costs by US $3.27 and absenteeism by US $2.73 (4). Walking is a win-win for you, your employer, and your goals. Use walking as an augmentation to other life and sporting activities.

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