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Exercise and Fitness

55 y.o. just starting (again)

06/09/2008

Question:

I am the same person who just asked a question about where to start. I did start. I started 1 week ago walking. The first day I only walked 0.5 mi. Today I am able to walk 2.0 mi. in about 25 minutes.

Here are my questions. I can`t really get walking fast enough to be breathing hard because I get cramps right where the butt muscle connects to my back muscle. I have to slow way down for the cramp to go away, though I try to keep going even if it is slower.

Is this from the wrong shoes - I just got new athletic walking shoes - or is it just normal for an out of shape 55 y.o. and if I just keep at it, sooner or later those muscles will stop cramping up when I walk?

One more question.

A friend of mine who is 15 years older than I am (!) belongs to a walking club. They walk 9 miles every morning. My friend invited me to join them but I know I walk a lot slower than they do and I can`t go that far yet. How will I know when I am ready to join them?

Thank you for your responses!

Answer:

Remember, every workout should begin with a brief warm-up and a few simple stretches. Walk around the house or in place for a few minutes to get the blood flowing to the muscles before you attempt to stretch them. This will help to loosen up any tension you may be carrying and make your walk more enjoyable as well as more effective.

One great stretch to perform after you have done a warm-up is the low back/gluteal stretch. This stretch will target those tight glute and lower back muscles you mentioned. To perform this stretch, lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Grasp both legs behind the knees and pull knees in towards the chest. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-4 times. You should also perform this stretch after your walk.

Beginning walkers can make their workouts less strenuous by limiting how fast and far they walk. Keep the following in mind:

Walk short distances
Begin with a 5-10 minute walk and gradually increase your distance.

Do not worry about your speed
Walk at a comfortable pace. Focus on good posture, keeping your head lifted and shoulders relaxed.

Be sure you can talk while walking
If you can't converse, you are walking too fast.

Walking is one fitness activity that allows you numerous options. Once you have reached a point where you can walk a few miles with relative ease, you can start to vary the intensity and or distance. Don't forget to reward yourself after each workout with a few minutes of relaxing stretches to help prevent sore muscles.

For more information:

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Response by:

Rachael   Dotson, BS Rachael Dotson, BS
Program Manager
Certified Johnny G Spinning Instructor
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati