Having had numerous periods in hospital over the last few years I have found that walking has been not only my salvation in keeping me sane but my fastest means to full recovery. By full recovery I mean to be back as healthy, strong and as fast as before.
Walking is the ideal base for allowing you to fully recover from an operation, illness or injury which is preventing you from running, swimming and/or cycling.
However, to get the full benefits of walking you will need to aim for at least a daily thirty minutes to an hour and always at a pace you would do if you were late for a meeting.
At the risk of teaching you to suck eggs here are the main benefits –
- You are carrying your own weight which means increased muscle strength and endurance, especially with some inclines in your walk;
- By raising your heart rate to a zone 2 level you are allowing your body to create more mitochondria.*
- Getting fresh air and time to interact with the outside world;
- Muscle footfall adaption for when you get back to running;
- Burning up calories and reducing body fat;
- Preventing or reducing blood pressure, as well as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, muscle and joint stiffness.
- It is also a vital tool for your mental health.
However, if you are wanting to get back to your original level of fitness or better, you will need to progress to a transition phase which can last between.four week to six months.
For me this involved the following;
- Adding some jogging/running during my daily walking sessions;
- Basic strength and conditioning daily – press ups, core work and plank;
- Add some spinning sessions on the turbo/watt bike;
- If given the all clear, get a couple of short swimming sessions in a week and use the pull buoy as much as you feel,
- Focus on what you can do eg, cross trainer, going up and down stairs, any strength and conditioning, band work etc.
- Recover well – quality sleep and nutrition.
- Measure your progress back to good health and fitness and celebrate
However, do not under estimate walking as it is your most important means to getting back to full fitness, as well as good mental and physical health.
*The mitochondria is the powerhouse of your cells and takes your oxygen and carbs (sugar) to produces the energy that makes your heartbeat and your muscles function effectively.