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  • Walking Indoors (Last in Article Series)

    By: Joann Bally CSCS

    There are times when you may have to take your walking program inside because of weather, darkness, or just because you want to.

    Some health clubs have indoor walking tracks. These are usually about 8 laps to the mile or less, but can be fun for a change. If you do a lot of walking on tracks, indoor or outdoor, try going in the opposite direction (clockwise) sometimes to balance yourself out. Go to the outside of the track so you donít interfere with others.

    Covered malls are popular places to walk. Sometimes they will open early for walkers. Look for times when they are not too crowded, and walk continuously. You can come back and window shop when youíre done.

    Most indoor fitness walking is done on a treadmill. Treadmills are handy when you canít get outside to walk. I like to walk outside, and wouldnít want to do all my workouts on a treadmill, but some people do. You can do your workouts on a treadmill with good success for both health and fitness.

    You can use a treadmill at a gym, or get one for your home. With a home treadmill, you can get in some walking without having to travel to a gym, and wear whatever you want. You can listen to your choice of music, or none, or watch TV. A treadmill is just a machine for walking or running. Itís good for intervals: You can adjust it to go faster, then slower, which is a good way to boost fitness. You can also adjust the elevation, so you can go uphill without being on a hill. Remember, if you want to expend the same amount of energy, you have to reduce the speed when you increase elevation. Make these changes a little at a time so you can control intensity.

    When you start using a treadmill, you may want to hold on to the side or front rails until you are comfortable. Get to where you can let your arms swing normally. Holding on to the rails decreases the intensity, so you arenít working as hard as the machine indicates. You can use racewalking or other speedwalking technique on the treadmill.

    If you can read while walking on the treadmill, you arenít working hard enough. Itís ok to watch TV or listen to music, radio, or books on tape. Find yourself a lightweight unit with headphones. Be careful about using headphones out of doors. You should only use them when thereís no danger from traffic or a bad guy sneaking up on you, which makes treadmill walking ideal when you want this kind of entertainment while exercising.

    You can use your pedometer on the treadmill or just figure 2000 steps per mile, or whatever number you may have measured for yourself. But what about all those other machines at the gym? William O. Roberts, MD, in The Physician & Sportsmedicine, suggests adding 2000 steps to your daily step log for every 15 minutes of alternative aerobic exercise. His example is 4000 steps for 30 minutes of inline skating, but you can add 2000 for 15 minutes on a stationary bike, rowing machine, elliptical trainer, or other machine that doesnít lend itself to step counting.

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