So today is the beginning of my 4-Week Walk for Weight Loss. I was up a few hours before sunrise — not to get out and exercise, but to tend to the health care needs of a very old dog — and spent the morning in town, running errands.
I don’t think I’m allowed to count the strolling time that went into my Saturday morning errands, am I?
That’s a slippery slope… and anyway, the walking was more of a “purposeful stroll” than any kind of a pace that could be called aerobic!
And the key concept for today is intensity.
In this exercise plan, a number from 1 to 10 tells you how hard you should be working at the walking, how much effort to put into it. It’s a subjective scale, based on how you “feel” about the level of exercise intensity:
1 – 2 is about the level of effort it takes to haul yourself off the couch and wander out to the kitchen for a refill of coffee.
3 – 4 is a slow warm-up pace, and 5 – 6 is what the fitness folks call a “recovery walk” — an easier pace, more of a recreation stroll.
When you get to level 6 – 7, that’s a brisk “cardio walk” that makes people clear off the sidewalk to get out of the way of the crazy lady in a hurry. It’s where you probably start to puff and pant a bit after a couple of minutes — you should still be able to talk, but singing is out of the question!
8 – 9 is an intensive workout for short periods, when you’re breathing hard and wishing you could just stop now and have a nice lie-down under a tree, please! but not actually in any pain.
And level 10? We just don’t go there.
It’s a lot more subjective way of judging your exercise effort than strapping on a heart-rate monitor and letting a digital read-out nag your into speeding up or slowing down — but I have read elsewhere that the “feels like a 6″ system works perfectly well. And the bottom-line benefit , as I see it, is frugality. You don’t need any special equipment (other than a pair of decent walking shoes, of course) to get into this walking fitness routine. So — no more excuses!
Okay, off I go, while we’ve still got a bit of sunshine out there!