SPAR Women's Challenge 2019

Who says you have to run?

Walking is good for you, say the health fundis

Who says you have to run the SPAR Women’s Challenge? Thousands of women – particularly in the shorter 5km fun-run – opt to walk and enjoy the camaraderie along the way.

What’s more, according to international health standards, walking for 30 minutes a day – or more – on most days of the week – is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health.

We tend to overlook how good walking can be for us but it is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of day and can be performed at your own pace.

Walking with others also can turn exercise into an enjoyable social occasion. Here are a few tips to remember:

  • To get the health benefits, try to walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week. “Brisk” means that you can still talk but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly.
  • Try to make walking a routine and try to walk at the same time each day. However, you use the same amount of energy no matter what time of day you walk, so do what is most convenient for you.

For most people, there is also little difference in the amount of energy used by walking a kilometre or running a kilometre – it’s just that walking takes longer.

Walking fast burns more kilojoules per hour but when you start off, pace yourself so that you can still talk.

This simple rule of thumb means that you walk safely within your target heart rate.

  • Don’t bounce or jolt, or you could overstretch muscle tissue and cause microscopic tears, which lead to muscle stiffness and tenderness. ý Wear loose, comfortable clothing, and appropriate footwear to avoid blisters and shin splints.
  • Wear sunglasses, sunscreen, long sleeves and a hat to avoid sunburn.
  • Aim for 30 minutes a day, four or more days a week but if you can’t, then at least remember “even a little is good, but more is better”.

Walking for fun and fitness isn’t limited to strolling by yourself around your local streets.

There are various clubs, venues and strategies you can use to make walking an enjoyable and a social part of your lifestyle – around a third of the people who do the popular Saturday parkruns in Nelson Mandela Bay, for example, do not run but instead walk the route.

There is also the free Sunday My Run at Falcon Rock and at Humewood Golf Course.

See your doctor for a medical check-up before embarking on any new fitness programme, particularly if you are over 40 years, are overweight or haven’t exercised in a long time.

 

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