Monday, October 24, 2011

How fast and how far can you walk?

I find this very interesting. The researchers asked how far you could walk and not run. At first I thought about why they would ask such a question and the answer came pretty quickly, because most people don’t like running and everyone walks (with the exception of the disabled). Walking and at a quick pace over a length or period of time can give a person the same results than if they ran that same distance.

Now to test this theory, I walked two miles at a very hard brisk pace. The question I wanted to answer was if I would feel the same fatigue as if I had ran that same distance and the answer was a resounding yes. Now don’t get me wrong it was a much slower time but the end result was pretty much the same, leg fatigue. The hardest thing to do during that walk was keep the same pace going. On so many occasions my body wanted to naturally slow down that I found myself really concentrating on my foot cadence to keep the same pace up. At the end of the walk I evaluated myself to figure out if my cardio conditioning for the first two mile walk and this gave me a bench mark or base line. The next day a ran that same two mile course at a moderate pace, 7 minutes per mile and remarkably at the end of my run, whereas I was breathing a little heavier, when I went to take my pulse rate, it was lower than when I walked the day before.

Here is my thought, I am a believer that running isn’t for everyone and in the end, for the general public, whether you run or walk at a fast pace, doesn’t really matter. You can achieve the same ultimate goal using either method. Now I know some of you are shaking your heads and saying that you are walkers and not runners, but have you ever done a study comparing to two and which one really gets you in the best shape? Or are you just saying that because you “feel” that running is too hard and difficult and it is too uncomfortable? Is your statement “feeling” of logic based?

Did you know that there is a big difference between running and walking fast pace? With running you are using your mid foot and rolling to your toes (with the exception of sprinters that are always on the balls of their feet) and with walking your are rolling from your heal to your toe. With walking you are using much more of your Tibialis anterior and much more of your Illiopsoas muscle than you do when running. Your legs are more engaged while fast paced walking compared to running. One foot is always on the ground with fast pace walking and with running you spend more of your time in the air than on the ground. I can honestly tell you that fast walking was much harder than it first appeared and much more taxing on my legs.

Now try this as an exercise. For two weeks find yourself a one mile or two mile course and time yourself. Then over the next two weeks try and better that time. Every time you finish I want you then to take your pulse and keep record of it. Then compare when you first started to your 14th day. Then I want you to run (at your own pace) that two miles and do the same thing, take your pulse when you finish. See if after your walking there was a noticeable difference and after you’re running there was a noticeable difference. After you first walk that will give you a baseline as to the amount of beats per minute your heart rate was at. Chart it and look at the progression for the 14 days. Then do the same with the running. Now once you finish both exercises then compare them both and see which discipline gave you the best overall results. Numbers don’t lie nor are they emotional.

Now how you base your final results is on looking at your first initial pulse rate and then charting your progress throughout the 14 days. As an example let’s assume you started your first day after walking with BPM of 118 and after 14 days of walking that same course at that same time, it went down to 108 beats per minute. Then you started the running and after your initial run your BPM was 118 again but this time after 14 days your BPM was 112, then the best way for you to get into good general condition would be by fast pace walking. Why? Well when you started the walking your BPM was 118 and you lost 10 BPM compared to running where you only lost 6 BPM over that same amount of days.

Well from that you can begin to plan out how you will get yourself into better cardio condition. Hey a one other thing, remember this, the better condition you are in the lower your resting heart rate… the longer you will live. Now go do it!