Hiking v Walking

Proper body posture isn’t easy but is crucial to health and safety. This applies to walking (casual movement at normal respiration and heartrate) as well as hiking (movement with enhanced respiration and heartrate). At Take-A-Hike we aim for the enhanced condition.

Target heartrate is 70%↓ & 80%↑ of (220 – age). Age is at ½-year. For instance Age 75, 5 months = 75; 75, 6 months = 76. Example Age 80: 220-80 = 140 x .7↓ = 95; 140 x .8↑ = 180. It’s OK to be greater than 80%↑.
I recommend to use an Oximeter to measure heartrate, which can be purchased from Amazon. The Oximeter also displays blood oxygen level, which should be 90-100%.
Note Don’t leave the Oximeter on, as the reading changes and isn’t accurate.
Now let’s talk about posture. The natural tendency when walking is to slouch forward with the head bent forward and down, particularly going uphill. This is bed for the following reasons
• Strains the spinal, shoulder, neck and lower back/pelvic muscles
• Insufficient air/oxygen intake to the lungs
• Miss the beauty of nature and restricts situational awareness

Proper Posture The correct posture for health, enjoyment and situational awareness is
• Stand straight, head/shoulders vertical to hips and level ground. Stay vertical to horizontal on hills, not to the angled surface.
• Shoulders down, not hunched up or forward
• Chin in, as in military attention

Steps Many people complain of sore knees and stumble, particularly on uneven surfaces (gravel, trails). To avoid this
• Pick up feet, don’t shuffle or slide them
• Land the heel first – uphill and downhill
• To reduce or eliminate forces on the knee swing the hips as in golf or a model on the runway. This lengthens the stride and keeps the force linear through the knee
Breathing Proper breathing reduces stress and increases stamina.
• Try to breathe deeply and ‘slowly’, that is inhale to 4 count, exhale to 3 count
• It’s OK to break this pattern for 1-2 minutes periodically
Note The lateral leg muscles stabilize the knees and hips. Normally these muscles aren’t developed, even from physical therapy and personal training. Clinical Somatics has slow and gentle exercises specifically for the lateral leg muscles. We’re fortunate to have a Clinical Somatics instructor in Boquete, however if you aren’t here google Clinical Somatics on YouTube or where you reside.

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