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Training Tip: Balance
by Judy Heller, March 06, 2017

The most important aspect of any training program is balance.

It is tempting to omit balance when training when short on time, training for relays to a marathons. It is tempting but don’t! Balance in training is one of the keys to success, whether you are a recreational walker or runner, an avid fitness walker or runner, or competitive sports enthusiast.

 

Balance is achieved by adhering to basic principles:

1)    Warm-up and Cool-down: Always include a warm-up and cool-down in your sessions. The purpose of the warm-up is to slowly elevate the pulse and body temperature. This increases the muscle blood flow and thus improves delivery of nutrients, improves the mechanical efficiency and power of the moving muscles, improves coordination, helps prevent injuries to the muscles tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues, and allows the heart muscle to adequately prepare itself for aerobic exercise.

 

2)    The Cool-down is just as important as the Warm-up. The purpose of the cool-down is to slowly reduce the pulse rate, lower the body temperature, and help the circulation in the removal of metabolic waste products. This promotes faster recovery from fatigue, prevents the pooling of blood (in legs) reducing the possibility of delayed muscular stiffness, and reduces any tendency toward dizziness and fainting.

3)    Stretching / Flexibility: Flexibility is an important factor in reducing the potential for injury and in improving performance, and is an important component of overall physical fitness. Stretching exercises lengthen muscles; increased flexibility allows us to maintain the range of motion in our joints. Do not use any stretch that causes unusual pain or discomfort. Stretching a cold or tight muscle can do more harm than good.

4)    Variation: Failure to include variety leads to boredom, staleness, and poor performance. You can achieve variation by changing your training routine: alter your time, distance and/or intensity.  Think in terms of hard/easy and work/rest. Follow a long walk with a short one or an intense walk with a relaxed one. Rest is as important as the workout. The body uses rest to repair and recover.

Happy Trails friends- follow these 4 tips to achieve balance in your training program!  -Coach Judy 

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