You train hard and recovery is an important part of that program. Recovery is important for many reasons. Recovery allows the body time to adapt to a workout program. It allows time for the body to repair tissue that has been damaged working out as well as replenishing depleted energy stores. It also allows the body the rest required to keep from over training and eventually burning out.
Active recovery really means a day off – from your program. That means that you take a day to live your life actively or doing a workout that is less intense. This could be walking the dog, enjoying a yoga class, going for a swim or bike ride, hiking, stretching, or even grabbing a foam roller for some much needed self-myofascial release (SMR).
Rest and relaxation refers to the down time away from training altogether, allowing the body the needed time to do those tissue repairs, strengthen, and replenish.
When was the last time you went for a walk in nature? Just walked for the sake of walking? of observing the leaves and the rocks? the light and the sky?
The other day I did just that. Went for a walk in nature. My husband and I were on Vancouver Island and were exploring. We went to Goldstream Provincial Park to walk to a waterfall.
We walked along the trail.
We didn’t talk very much.
We just looked.
We looked at the rocks at our feet.
We looked at the trees and leaves around us.
We looked at the moss.
We looked at the light filtering through the forest.
We looked at the waterfall.
When we arrived at its base, I sat on a rock and just observed. Just listened to the sounds of the water, the wind, the leaves.
It was peaceful.
It was relaxing.
It was refreshing.
It’s great for your health.
It’s great for the environment.
It’s great for your family.
Going for a family walk on a Saturday afternoon or on a weeknight after dinner is a great way to secure focused family time. It’s a space to unplug from technology, focus on each other and explore your neighbourhood or even other parts of the city.
6 Ways to Make a Walk Fun
1 – Races! Who can get to that mailbox first?
2 – Make up stories about what you see.
3 – Talk about your day, ask and answer questions about what you see around you.
4 – How many different ways can you walk?
5 – Take a picnic with you and search for the perfect picnic spot.
6 – Pass a Frisbee or ball back and forth as you walk (just not near the street, to be safe)
Share your tips for making walks fun on twitter with #fun2walk
If you work an office job, you probably spend a lot of time sitting. Here are 8 ways to get moving just a little bit more while at the office.
1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator/park at the back of the lot
We’ve all heard this one. And yet… we still take the escalator or the elevator, we still drive around the lot for 10 minutes until a closer parking spot opens up. Those extra few steps won’t take any extra time (they might even be faster!), you’ll get the blood flowing and you’ll probably feel better for it.
2. Have a glass of water at your desk – drink it and refill it
Drinking water is good for you. Moving during the day instead of just sitting at your desk for 8 hours is good for you. So, have a glass of water on your desk, sip it throughout the day, and when it becomes empty (which it will), get up, walk over to the break room and refill it.
Many people have water bottles at their desk, that’s good. But a water bottle holds a lot more than a standard glass. So use the glass and you’ll get a few more steps on that pedometer of yours.
3. Sit up straight
We all remember being told not to slouch by our parents or teachers. It’s time to take that advice and bring it back into our day. Sit up straight, with good posture – back straight, shoulders down and back, core muscles engaged. Your back, shoulders, and neck will feel better throughout the day, your brain will be more responsive, and you’ll be working on that six pack just by sitting.
We often forget the impact that just engaging our core abdominal muscles can have. We often forget those muscles are even there. So practice finding them and engaging them (gently pull your belly button in to meet your spine). When sitting, standing, walking – you’ll improve your posture and your balance. You’ll look and feel better.
3. Go talk to your coworkers instead of phoning or emailing them
Email and phone are convenient, easy, and don’t require you to get up and search for someone. But when someone sits 10 feet from your desk, walk over and ask your question. Conversations flow, questions are answered and decisions made a lot faster when you are talking face to face with someone. And if they’re not at their desk the first time you go look, you’ll get the added benefit of getting to walk over to their desk a second time later in the day.
4. Stand while you talk
If you do need to make a phone call, stand with your feet shoulder width apart while you speak. You’ll wake up your muscles and your brain. You’ll think and speak a little more clearly, and get a bit of exercise too.
5. Set an alarm to stand up
Sitting all day is being compared to smoking as one of the worst things we can do for our health. Set a timer on your computer or cell phone for an hour and when it goes off, whatever you’re doing, stand up. You can go for a walk, you can simply stand and slowly move and stretch your muscles a bit.
Your body will feel better. Your muscles will be less tight and sore. And you’ll be more productive when you sit back down.
6. Balance while you wait
Do you find yourself waiting beside the printer for your reports to print? Or waiting in front of the kettle or coffee maker for your brew to be the perfect temperature? Take turns standing on one leg and balancing for a count of 10. You’ll engage your core muscles and the time will pass a little bit faster.
7. Try a walking meeting
Planning on meeting with someone to discuss a new endeavour? Walking meetings are becoming very popular. Instead of sitting in a board room or coffee shop – meet a colleague or two on the park trails and have your conversation while walking side by side.
8. Get a standing desk
If you can, incorporate a standing desk into your office space instead of a seated one. Sure, it’s good to still have a chair nearby so you can sit when you need to. But typing, and most ways we use a desktop computer, don’t require us to be seated. A standing desk will force you to utilize a lot more muscles. Just make sure you have proper footwear so your feet don’t get sore.
I walk to work nearly every day. Unless I need my car to go to somewhere during the day for work, like another YMCA Calgary location, I start my day with a jaunt along Calgary’s sidewalks.
1. Good Exercise
I live about 3.2 km from my office. So, most days, I end up walking just over 6 km. It’s pretty good exercise if I keep to a fairly fast pace.
2. No Traffic Jams or Parking Lots
When I walk to work you don’t have to deal with sitting in a traffic jam, making left turns in the midst of lots of traffic, or driving laps around a parking lot or the block to find a decent parking spot.
Walking to work is free! No cost. It’s great. Not only do I not have to pay for parking (which in downtown Calgary costs an arm and a leg), but I also save money by not having to fill up my car with gas very often.
4. Phone Calls
Walking home from work is a great time to make a phone call to my mom or my grandma or even my best friend who lives in Washington State. I don’t feel like I should be doing something else – like when I’m at home in the evening and can see the dishes piling up in the sink and the overflowing dirty laundry hamper the whole time I talk on the phone.
5. It’s Interesting for the Imagination
I’m a people watcher. I find it very interesting to see how people walk, what they are wearing, and who they are walking with. I like to imagine where they are going and what they will be doing when the get there.
Unlike driving or taking transit in rush hour, walking is a great stress-reliever. It’s great to get up in the morning and have an extra 30 minutes to wake up and slowly plan my day without having to control a ton of metal travelling at high speed. It’s also great to have that 30 minutes to digest what happened at work that day and not have to deal with any of it when I get home. If I’ve left the office with a headache, by the time I get home from my walk, the headache is long gone.
7. Thinking time
When I’m driving I have to pay a lot of attention to a lot of other things. When I walk, I can focus almost completely on my thoughts. I can daydream, I can plan my grocery list, I can get totally lost in my thoughts.
It’s nice to be able to just focus on the music, podcast, or audiobook I’m listening to. Walking on sidewalks is relatively safe and doesn’t require nearly as much of my attention as driving does, so my music, podcast, or audiobook gets it all.
My husband and I get to walk part way to work together every morning. It’s a great way to start our day with a little bit of chitchat. I’ll often meet up with friends at lunch or after work and it’s handy not to have to worry about a car. We can just walk together to wherever we are going.
Walking is often the best way to see your city. You can see so much more than while driving – and you can stop and stare at a building or a park or a piece of public art for as long as you like. I’ve discovered new shops and restaurants, and while walking I can just pop in and check it out.
Sure, sometimes the weather isn’t any fun for walking – like when it’s pouring rain or blizzarding wet snow, or when it’s minus 27 degrees. But even when I have to bundle up, wear boots and carry my nice shoes and fix my hair when I get to the office, I still think the benefits of walking to work still outweigh the occasional cold cheeks or sore feet.
By Lisa Kingston, Eau Claire YMCA Program Manager
It’s easy to lose your workout routine, or be overwhelmed by the thought of starting a fitness rountine, in the hustle and bustle of summer activites. Kids are off school, holiday travel, weddings and family events leave us loving the longer summer hours but exhausted.
Revisit your workouts by thinking about maintaining or starting with baby steps rather than jumping in with two feet and trying to fit it all in.
1/ Play – if you find yourself watching your kids running through the sprinkler, hitting the badminton birdie or riding their bikes, join in! It’s the perfect family fitness time!
2/ Walk – with nicer weather and longer sunlight hours, take the opportunity to walk where you would usually drive. To the mall, to the grocery store, or just get out and enjoy a little vitamin D.
3/ Shorter workouts – when time an issue, why not shorten the length of your workout. Don’t feel guilty, get the same results by increasing intensity.
We still have two good months of summer left, make the most of them!
The answer varies greatly, depending on your fitness goals. Long, steady-state cardio provides many health benefits including lower blood pressure, stress relief, lower cholesterol, increased lung and heart capacity, increased endurance and general well-being.
If better overall health is your goal, steady state running, swimming, biking, walking, etc. will enable you to reach that goal. If you want to change your body composition and/or lose weight, higher intensity, shorter workouts are much more effective. The key is the high intensity – as long as you are working hard enough (i.e. you NEED to have your mouth open to breath), you can get a very effective workout in as little as 16 minutes. Classes such as Interval Blast, HEAT and Metabolic Conditioning all offer a high intensity workout that will help you achieve these goals. Alternatively, a personal trainer can also give you this kind of workout and will ensure that you work hard enough to reach those goals.
Next time you go for a run, add some sprinting intervals – 20-30 seconds per interval is a good guideline.
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