It’s Spring!

23 Mar

Yippee!  Spring has finally arrived!  The daffodils are in bloom!  The days are getting longer!  And the sun is shining (most of the time)!  It’s time to lace up your shoes and hit the walking trails.  This is an amazing time of year!  Winter seemed to be especially gloomy and cold and everyone is excited about the chance to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Hopkins County has a variety of walking trails available for those ready to say good-bye to winter and embrace the bright and sunny days of spring.

  • Dawson Springs City Park: This is a nice shaded, quiet trail.
  • Dr. Festus Claybon Park: A relatively flat trail with the playground visible from the entire circuit.   
  • Earlington City Park: This trail is also known as the Stewart Creek Walking Trail.  This is the trail I use the most.  It’s simple and provides plenty of shade.  I also feel safe walking it alone in the rare occasion I must walk without a partner (which for safety sake, I don’t recommend!) 
  • Madisonville City Park: This is by far one of the most popular trails in Hopkins County.  Yet it is my least favorite.  My issues—traffic, safety, and snakes.
  • Nortonville City Park: This path offers a pleasant but challenging walk. 
  • Trover Wellness Park:  This trail is relatively new.  I haven’t had a chance to try it out, but those I’ve talked to describe it as enjoyable and tell me they felt safe walking here.  
  • White Plains City Park:  I’m sorry, but I’ve never walked this path and haven’t even looked at it.  If you have tried this trail and have an opinion on it, please post it in the comments.  

If you have tried any of these trails and have a comment or opinion please share by posting a comment.  Thank You!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Walking is America’s favorite form of exercise.  It’s cheap, easy, and convenient.  Studies have found that people are more likely to keep walking for exercise throughout their life.  And walking boasts the highest adherence rate and lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.    

Before you take off, consider a few pointers that can help make your walk safe, effective and enjoyable!

  • Warm-Up: Aim for 5 minutes of slow walking or other warm-up exercises before setting out.
  • Use proper form and technique:  Good posture prevents post-walk aches and pains and enables you to go faster.  You may have been walking from a young age, but here are a few tips that can help you get more results from each step:
  1. Keep your gaze forward, not down.
  2. Maintain an upright but comfortable posture with your neck, upper back and shoulders relaxed.
  3. Bend your arms to about 90 degrees and make a loose, relaxed fist.  This turns your arms into shorter, more compact pendulums.  You’ll be able to swing them faster and thus help your legs and feet move faster. (Have you ever tried running with straight arms?)
  4. Front hand should rise no higher than chest level.  Rear hand rises just to hip height.
  5. Gently pull in your abdominal muscles.  This helps strengthen your abs while reducing lower-back pain.
  6. Resist the urge to squeeze your glutes as you walk, as it can throw off your form.  To increase backside sculpting, increase the incline.
  7. Avoid locking your front knee.
  8. Land on your heel, roll through the ball of your foot, and push off with your toes.
  9. Keep your stride moderate in length, allowing your knees to be slightly flexed as your legs swing forward and your feet strike the ground. 
  10. Smile and have Fun!
  • Breathe: It’s important to breathe deeply and evenly through your nose and mouth as you walk. 
  • Cool-down: After your walking workout, start to slow down gradually.  Keep walking, but slow your pace to a stroll.  The cool-down phase is an excellent time to do stretching exercises.  

Hands down, walking is the easiest, no excuses, put-on-your-shoes-and-go cardio workout.  It’s popular, the risk of injury is low, and you get to be outside.  It’s the best way to get back into shape, especially for people who are overweight, have been sedentary a long time, or are over sixty.  In my next post I’ll discuss more of the health benefits derived from a walking routine, tips for staying safe during your walk and ways to have fun and boost the calorie burn while you walk. 

Until then, Stay Well and Be Fit,

Mel

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2 Responses to “It’s Spring!”

  1. Patricia Davis March 11, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    The White Plains walking path is great diversity and an easy walk. I would recommend it.

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