Tag Archives: exercise

Picking up speed

A new way to donate… AND A VIDEO!

Our attempt on The Grim Challenge for CANCER RESEARCH UK using a more extreme variant Nordic Walking is going pretty well. Sure we’d like to see more sponsors and donations, but it’s early days and we’re both training to make sure we don’t let anyone down.

I’ve added a method to make donating really easy now. You just need to use your mobile phone and text STIX99 and a donation amount (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10) to 70070.

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Meanwhile, along with cardio and endurance training, I’ve thrown together a little video to promote our challenge. It’s only a first attempt and I plan to make another (more?) as time goes on.

It is for Cancer Research UK, although they support the worldwide fight against cancer and are simply based in the UK, so to everyone out there, where ever you are, please do donate and share this page. It’s for a very good cause after all.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR ‘JUST GIVING’ CHARITY PAGE


Spongebob Exercisepants

Call me crazy, but Spongebob is helping me keep fit, exercise my back and lose weight…

As you know, I have damaged a disc in my lower back. I can’t sit up, or even walk very well without something to keep me stable. Using Alex’s pushchair or my Nordic walking poles allows me to walk and gently exercise and rehabilitate my back .

The poles have proved to do much more for me as well – as mentioned in other blog posts. It burns 30% to 40% more kcal than running or jogging, as it uses the upper body as well – and it also raises the heart rate into a different sport zone without having to go as fast as you would running or jogging.

Because of the slower speed and stick aided stability, the body impact is greatly reduced – which benefits the back, legs…heck, any joints! Great for weight loss, improving fitness – and rehabilitation when you can’t run or jog…. or walk easily unaided.

Proper training is a must as with all sports (even simple jogging – if you do it wrong, you can screw yourself up)- but it isn’t expensive and not too time consuming. I initially had 10 to 15 minutes of coaching to make sure I knew what I was doing (and not damaging myself any further!). A fortnight later I had some follow up training to make sure I was still on track. I did this with Helen Wallace from the Alice Holt Forestry Commission (see my links on the lower of the left hand column).

One of the things that has oddly helped me get to grips with getting the most from this exercise is Spongebob Squarepants…

I have endured the theme tune so many times now, as Alex loves the show – and as such the tempo of the tune has stuck in my head! Where I  exercise and breath in over two strides and out over two strides, I now have Spongebob’s name – as sung at the pace of the song – going through my head as I exercise…. breath in over 2 strides “Sponge-bob” and out over two strides “Square-pants” …. I did say you could “call me crazy…”

Now this chant helps keep my heart rate in a set zone and keeps me walking comfortably. The actual speed of my foot fall doesn’t change, but the speed of the walk itself can, simply by increasing the stride, but keeping the same time beat going. It’s like a walking metronome… constant tick-tock-tick-tock sponge-bob-square-pants…..

Crazy…maybe, but thanks to Alex’s love of the TV show, my pole walks, my back and my overall fitness is improving.


My Bad Back

After moving a heavy machine from the back of the company car I damaged my back. It doesn’t seem to be too serious, but it’s taking a while to fix. This has been driving me crazy, as sitting is painful, twisting is painful, carrying even light loads is painful…. brilliant. I’ve got pain killers which help – and the Doc’s advice is a mix of rest and gentle exercise (yay for painkillers!). Sleeping is a nightmare, as I can’t get comfortable, and if I roll in the night I end up waking up. Gah!!!!

Even worse is I can’t carry on my running programme or even shoot – I’ve already missed a shooting competition.

Luckily I stumbled on some information about Nordic Walking. This is like cross country skiing, but without the skis or snow….

It keeps the body in a more stable position whilst walking, and burns around 30% more calories than normal walking. With the new trainers that correct my foot fall and the Nordic Poles, I have found I can take a reasonable walk without causing any more back pain – which actually helps keep me active and helps with my back recovery!

Normal walking caused me discomfort – but this has almost been eliminated when I use the poles to walk. The painkillers still allowed me to feel what was happening around my lower back, but reduced the pain itself. This is how I found that the poles helped reduce the strain on my back. The main trouble now is getting up and sitting/laying back down again – but once I get up on my poles I feel a darn site better. Hmmm… that means I can either be horizontal or walking with poles… I’m having soooooo much fun at the moment.

Any way…. here’s a bit about the Nordic walking, and the advantages of it. The Doctor had said I should walk around, so I took some painkillers and set of to do 2km without the poles, and then another 2km with the poles.

This is a comparison test over the same route for 2km. The pace I set was simply a comfortable pace to walk at in both straight walking and Nordic Walking. Due to the extra push from the poles, the comfortable pace was a little higher for the Nordic Walking.

After the tests I felt more exercised from the Nordic walk, but I also felt like I could go on for further than just plain walking, due to the distribution of the effort throughout my whole body – as the poles give your arms and chest exercise whilst they help share the load on your back, knees and legs.

If you have a long hike to go on, then I’d say get some pole practice in, as it will help you sustain yourself.

Anyway…. The top chart in the following cases show:- Heart rate, speeds, kcal burn etc… The second chart shows the time my heart rate stayed in the specific training zones.
(More on the zones at the bottom of this post!)

You’ll notice that the use of poles raises the heart rate and gives almost 30% more kcal burn for the same distance as straight walking.

CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE LARGER VERSIONS

STRAIGHT WALKING

NORDIC WALKING

ZONES

These zones relate to the effect the heart rate has on your body – the percentage is calculated from my maximum and resting rates – so the actual BPM that I have in these zones will be different to anyone else – BUT it is the percentage of a persons max heart rate that effects the zone range, and not the numerical BPM itself.


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