How To Get Started Walking

by Alex Allred

Do you remember when they taught Mr. Freeze Meister to walk? Oh, come on. It was when Mother Nature's sons, Mr. Freeze Meister and Mr. Heat Meister, tried to stop Christmas and Mrs. Claus went to reason with them. Mrs. Claus quickly figured out Mr. Freeze Meister was crabby because he really couldn't get around. So, she and her helpful elves began singing to him, "Just put one foot in front of the other… and soon you'll be walking out the door." It was totally irresponsible of them. They had no idea what they were talking about and . . .did you see him? He looked as though he might topple over any second. His brother, the Heat Meister, on the other hand, was a ball of fire. Literally. He was on the balls of his feet, bouncing around with his warmed muscles. He was ready for the 100-mile walk-off.

Don't believe me? This holiday season, check out the vintage cartoon. Mr. Freeze Meister is clearly walking - if you can call it that - flat footed. Good walking or running form is essential to better, stronger strides; easier on your joints and, in the long run, will help burn more calories/fat.

So, how do you walk? If you are walking flat footed (meaning the entire underside of your foot land evenly on the pavement), chances are you are moving at a leisurely pace and too slowly to really benefit. This is very hard on your knees, hips and lower back. Try walking so that the heels of your feet hit first. Land lightly on the heels and roll forward on your foot, pushing off the ground with your toes. In this position, your calf muscles are already poised, ready to push off another strong stride. By doing this, you may need to shorten your walk a little as you adjust to the harder workout. Yes, you are burning more fat and will have a higher heart rate because you are having to work more. Stand straight; keep your arms and wrists loose. Most people want to walk with clenched fists but you will benefit more if your upper body is relaxed, allowing your arms to swing back and forth, thus working upper body as well.

If running, keep your position tall and remain on the balls of your feet for the entire job. Again, this is easier on the joints and will increase your stamina tenfold.

You know, Mr. Freeze Meister and Mr. Heat Meister were brothers and yet, Mr. Freeze Meister looked a hundred years older than his brother. Coincidence? I think not! It's all in the way you walk!

Alexandra AllredAlexandra Allred is a former member of the US Women's Bobsled team, is an accomplished martial artist, and continues to teach kickboxing while juggling her career as a full-time writer and mother of three. She has interviewed hundreds of athletes, models, actresses, trainers, doctors, and health/fitness experts as she sought to find answers to her own questions about working out while pregnant, arranging breast-feeding around a training schedule, diet when pregnant and breastfeeding, and encouraging her whole family.

Alex is the author of ten books, including Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sports and Entering the Mother Zone: Balancing Self, Health & Family.

Copyright © Alexandra Allred. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.