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We are all fascinated by those high-octane sports that promise great agility and balance, a toned body, and well, quite some glory. But again, is it possible for all of us to be in those shoes? Realistically speaking, the answer is no. The good news is there’s a certain sport that you can pick at any age, and guess what? It will give you toned muscles and will also help you burn more calories. Yes, we’re speaking about race walking.
Race walking utilises several muscle groups of the body, making it a great exercise to achieve overall fitness. As part of this exercise, you walk for maximum benefit. What’s more, it has improved fitness, promotes muscle toning, increases endurance, burns maximum calories, and enhances cardiovascular fitness levels.
Race walking is not like regular walking; you need to keep a few things in mind:
1. The straight leg or knee rule: Remember that your advancing leg needs to be straightened at the knee, and ensure it remains straight until passing under the hip. This is what makes race walking different from other walking styles, because in that case, the knee is flexed or slightly bent.
2. The contact rule: In race walking, one foot is in contact with the ground all the time. What this means is that the advancing foot of the walker makes contact with the ground, just before the rear foot leaves the ground. And that’s what makes it different from running.
3. The position of your arms: The positioning of your arms is of utmost importance. In this case, arms should be bent 85-90 degrees at the elbows. Swing your arms loosely, pivoting from the shoulders. Your hands must be close to your body, and should not cross the vertical or horizontal midline of your torso.
If you want to reap the benefits of race walking, you must boost the intensity. That’s because it raises your heart rate, and makes your body work harder!
Start with a warm-up of five to 10 minutes of regular walking. As we mentioned above, race walking targets various muscles in the body at one time, so you may want to do five to 10 minutes of stretching and flexibility. End your workout with a cool down for five minutes, and then do five to 10 minutes of gentle stretching, before you’re finally done.
Since this is something most of you are new to, mistakes are bound to happen. But make sure you don’t forget to keep one foot on the ground at all times. Also, bending the knee of your front leg is incorrect. It could also slow you down, if you are using your arm wrong, overstriding or leaning too much.