Today's Daily Challenge Friday Mar. 07, 2014
Healthy Behaviors is about lifestyle habits, namely healthy eating and physical activity, which have proven connections to lifelong health and disease prevention.
Vary your stride as you walk somewhere today, switching from short, peppy steps to long, slow ones.
How to do it
During one of your journeys by foot today, vary the length of your strides. Begin with short and peppy steps (if you're feeling creative and want to get into character, pretend you're a chihuahua that just had a double espresso shot). After 15 steps, switch over to longer, slower strides (maybe pretend you're a stomping giant who forgot to have his double espresso shot!). Switch back, and continue changing your stride every 15 steps until your walk is done.
Why it matters
Changing the length of your stride strengthens muscle groups in your legs, ankles, and core that don't get used when you walk normally. And because you're engaging a greater number of muscles than are necessary for regular walking, you'll get your heart rate up and burn more energy. Plus, who knows when you might have another chance to pretend you're a tiny dog and a massive giant?
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was wearing a size 9.5 boot when he took his giant step.
- Liz S.Flourishing
This sounds interesting. I am sure people will wonder at us lurching along! Bambi, once again, I so appreciate you remembering me with encouragement. Hope you dance along today also. Sande, as Bambi says, it sounds like a dance--and we are dancing to the end of our pact.
Gray skies and windy. So glad to be inside. Later this afternoon it is off to church for altar guild to prepare for Sunday's service. Since it is Lent, all the set up has changed. We are always learning....
- Paul T.BlossomingLevel 196
Advantages of Exercise Variation
Varying your exercise routine is always a good idea.
Cross training is an excellent method to maximize fitness. I’ve managed to minimize injuries by cross training over the last 39 years.
For instance, in a given week it’s generally better to swim 2-3 days, run 2-3 days, and bicycle 2-3 days, than to swim, run or bicycle every day.
In this way you alternate between different groups of muscles, and the stresses that you’re placing on the body in general.
By varying the intensity of any exercise and using an interval training approach you can:
1. Improve adaptability, as the body must adjust to changing conditions.
2. Reduce boredom, which can set in with an unchanging gait or speed.
3. Capture the benefits of intense exertion (e.g., endorphins and metabolic improvements) and the benefits of mild exertion (e.g., meditative Chi- or yoga-related workouts for calmness, relaxation, and reflection).
4. Exercises both slow twitch (good for longer distances at slower speeds) and fast twitch (good for sprinting and bursts of energy) muscle fibers.
5. Focus on different attributes, such as agility, balance, range of movement, speed, endurance, intense breathing and slow deep breathing.
6. Rest, which may restore muscles and temporarily reduce lactic acid levels enough to allow for longer workouts. This is known as raising your lactate threshold.
At the same time, there are certain speeds and gates that may allow you to make the most of a limited amount of time and avoid injury.
I prefer the fast gait (roughly 180 steps per minute) with shorter steps when walking or running because it reduces the stress on the tendons and ligaments in the legs when the foot is not extended far out in front of the torso. At the same time, I’ll vary my stride for the reasons cited above.
This fast and short gait is particularly useful when running on uneven and unpredictable terrain, when you’re also more vulnerable to falling after stepping in an unexpected pothole (which is more likely to happen if your foot is farther out in front of your torso).
When lifting weights speed variation has its advantages, but the overriding priority should be to avoid injury.
For instance, doing bench presses quickly may injure not only your biceps and upper back, but could result in dropping weights (something you definitely want to avoid).
Above all else, keep in mind that the benefits, of doing whatever exercises you are physically capable of doing, are priceless.