From Walking to Running!

Its necessary you read my earlier post: “Start Walking: How do I do it?”

In this post we will discuss about How to graduate from walking for 30 min to running for 30 minutes.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30-45 minutes of exercise of moderate intensity. The goal is to increase your heart rate to at least 80% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). The MHR is calculated from the formula 220-age.

Exercises which will increase your heart rate are ones which are carried at moderate intensity. These include jogging, running, cycling, swimming and so forth.

After reading the article on  “Start Walking: How do I do it?”, I am taking for granted that you will be in a position to carry out brisk walking for 30 minutes at a stretch.

Precautions!

To run you need to do brisk walking without feeling breathless. This is necessary as going to running directly when one cannot walk could be dangerous. Running is to be avoided if you are extremely obese. Please don’t overtrain and injure yourself. During any stage of the exercise, if you feel any pain in your joints (especially the knees), its advisable to stop running. Seek medical advice if the pain persists.

Here are some general guidelines to graduate to Running:

1. Always start with some stretching exercises to relax your leg muscles.

2. Start walking at a comfortable pace for at least 10-15 minutes.

3. Now to proceed to running continuously for 30 minutes. This can be gradual and you need not rush into it. I would recommend the following to achieve this:

Lets break the 30 minutes into 5 minute intervals:

Weeks 1 and 2:  Run for 1 minute, Walk for 4 minutes, Repeat this for 30 minutes.

Weeks 3 and 4: Run for 2 minutes, Walk for 3 minutes, Repeat this for 30 minutes.

Weeks 5 and 6: Run for 3 minutes, Walk for 2 minutes, Repeat this for 30 minutes.

Weeks 7 and 8. Run for 4 minutes, Walk for 1 minute, Repeat this for 30 minutes.

Weeks 9 and 10: Run for 5 minutes, with no walk intervals, (one can still continue to have 30-60 seconds walking breaks if one wishes). That’s continuous running for 30 minutes! Congratulations! Sounds Easy!

Please remember: The 2 week options are not compulsory. One can continue with a particular week plan as long as you are comfortable (say for 4 weeks). You need to be comfortable and not have any injuries during the run. If you have any pain, stop running. Rest for few days till the pain goes away and continue only walking during that time.

So in just 10 weeks you will be able to go from  Walking to Running for 30 minutes a day!

4. The pace of running is entirely up to you. Do not sprint and invite injuries. Let it be very slow at the start. Maintain a pace wherein you are in a position to carry a conversation with a friend/ running partner comfortably without being out of breath. Slow running is better and can be continued through out life rather than fast running which may invite injuries and cause you to give it up.

5. Do a cool-down walk of 15 minutes following the run.

6. The important thing is to enjoy it! During any stage, if you feel tired or breathless, please go back to walking. Its also safer to consult your doctor if you have never exercised before.

Sounds Easy! I hope it helps! Running not only improves physical health but also give immense mental satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. So Savour every moment of the run and the healthy lifestyle! Good Luck!

Start Walking: How do I do it?

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30-45 minutes of exercise of moderate intensity. The goal is to increase your heart rate to at least 80% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). The MHR is calculated from the formula 220-age.

So, how do you start regular walking if you have never walked before?

Exercises like running can be very bad for the joints if one is overweight and also not trained well. Swimming is one of the best exercises for the overweight, however not everyone has access to swimming pools.

So the easiest one to carry one and perform is WALKING!

Walking can be performed at any time or place and even when you are travelling!

But what do you do if you have never exercised before?

Take it easy! You can do it! Read ahead!

Here are some general guidelines:

1. Start walking at a leisurely pace for at least 10-15 minutes in a day.

In case you feel tired or breathless, slow down.  Its recommended to start any exercise gradually so that you minimize injuries. Do not overtrain.

If you have never walked before, walk for a minute and then take a break for 4 minutes. Repeat this for 30 minutes.

2. One may experience muscle cramps or joint pain in the initial few days if one has never exercised before. Do not get disheartened! Take it easy if you experience some! Apply some local ointment or take hot fomentation (with a hot water bag/ or a hot shower). Do some stretching exercise to relax your muscles. The aches and pains usually disappear in one or two weeks time.

3. Continue Walk and Rest repeats till you can do it for at least 30 minutes.

4. Now to proceed to walking continuously for 30 minutes. This can be gradual and you need not rush into it. I would recommend the following to achieve this:

Lets break the 30 minutes into 5 minute intervals:

Week 1:  Walk for 1 minute, Rest for 4 minutes, Repeat this for 30 minutes.

Week 2: Walk for 2 minutes, Rest for 3 minutes, Repeat this for 30 minutes.

Week 3: Walk for 3 minutes, Rest for 2 minutes, Repeat this for 30 minutes.

Week 4. Walk for 4 minutes, Rest for 1 minute, Repeat this for 30 minutes.

Week 5: Walk for 5 minutes, with no rest intervals, That’s continuous walking for 30 minutes! Congratulations! Sounds Easy!

So in just 5 weeks you will be able to go from No Walking to Walking for 30 minutes a day!

5. The important thing is to continue it for life and not give it up after few days.

Sounds Easy! I hope Everyone of us carries on Walking! Walking for Life!

Walk, walk, walk!

Walk, walk, walk!

That’s the best advice I give to my patients.

Healthy lifestyle = healthy heart!

What’s the best exercise for the heart?

Its Aerobic exercise which the heart needs. Aerobic exercises increases the heart rate and thereby improve cardiac reserve.

Which are the Aerobic Exercises I can do?

Exercises which result in an increase in heart rate are good. These include:

Brisk Walking

Running/ Jogging

Cycling

Swimming

How does one know that the heart rate increases on a particular exercise?

One can feel his pulse or also feel the heart beats in the form of palpitations. Nowadays, one can buy a heart rate monitor which can be applied on the chest or on the arm.

Does slow walking help?

Yes it does help to a certain extent. However it may not result in good increase in heart rate if the pace of walking is slow.

How much should the heart rate increase to?

The heart rate should increase to a 80 to 85% of your maximum heart rate. One can calculate his maximum heart rate by the formula 220-age.

Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) = 220 – age of the individual

How long should this heart rate increase persist?

To derive maximum benefit, one should maintain the momentum of exercise for at least 15-20 minutes.

What health benefits does aerobic exercise offer?

Reduces BP

Reduces Cholesterol

Reduces sugar

Reduces weight

Reduces chances of heart attacks

Improves cardiac reserve

Improves mood

Improves joint mobility and reduces arthritis

Strengthens bones and joints

Increases ones confidence

Also, its doesn’t cost a thing!

Which is the best exercise?

Brisk walking happens to be the best as it can be done by individuals of all age groups. It can be done even if you are travelling out of town. It can be done any time of the day. and doesn’t cost a penny! Also its less stressful on the joints compared to running which can cause knee pain. If one has access to swimming pool, swimming is good for individuals with arthritis issues.

Whats the current recommendation for Exercise?

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30-45 minutes of exercise for all individuals for a minimum of 5 days in a week.

What about yoga?

Yoga/ Asanas are static postures and so do nothing to increase heart rate (and thereby the cardiac reserve). Pranayam and Yogasanas relaxes the body and mind and stretches the joints and muscles. Thereby, they provide a relaxing effect and reduce heart rate and blood pressure. They also help in reducing anxiety.

What about Surya-namaskars?

Surya-namaskars if done at a fast pace can increase heart rate and improve cardiac reserve. However for most of us its easier to go out walking than do surya-namaskars. Also the heart rate increase with surya-namaskars may not be to the extent as with other aerobic exercises.

What about mental health?

Relaxing techniques like pranayam, breathing techniques and even praying can relax one’s mind and provide much needed rest to the mind. Good sleep and adequate lesiure time is also necessary.