Couch to 5k Week 7: Even Longer Dashes!

It’s been two weeks sheltering at home!  Many of us are feeling quaran-cabin fever and a tad stir-crazy! Thankfully the season is really starting to turn as last week had a number of days well over 60 degrees! No better reason than spring temperatures to get outside for that walk or jog and away from the Internet and binge-watching entire TV show seasons in a day. Remember, vitamin D is better than vitamin  TV. 🌞

In light of current events, we realize that a wide age range of people  have a common factor of firsts: working from home for business, young students learning via remote school and college students completing spring semester online at home. It’s uncharted territory, within individual  units of physical space: Home!

  It is truly amazing  how much less we move around when working at home compared to walking at the office.  Back in February, even early March, the average office employee walked hundreds, if not thousands of steps while at work. From house to car, from parking lot to building and then up the stairs if you’re foregoing the elevator. Then adding in all the walking to and from the copier, bathroom, wherever you eat lunch, meeting rooms, etc.,  you might possibly have met your daily minimum step goal. All that little walking accumulates throughout the day, burning calories, without realizing the exercise you’ve done. 

Staff at BeneFIT PT have asked a number of people from various lines of work who are now working at home how the steps compare.  It’s amazing to report just how little many of them move around the house.

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They state they get their coffee, walk into the dining room or spare bedroom, sit down and then don’t really get up until well past lunch and then again for dinner. 🖥  Becoming sedentary is not good for your body. Your muscles can become weaker or atrophy. You can cause significant injury to your body by being stationary too long. Your posture can be negatively effected. The list goes on.  All in all, if bad habits you may acquire by working at home are not corrected, you might undo the progress you’ve made in Physical Therapy or even result in new aches and pains. 

Anyone experiencing the Laptop or Cell Phone Neck? These are all easy situations to fall into, especially since working from home can be done anywhere in your house you can bring your telecommuting tools. 🛋  One helpful hint, try to do some work outside on your patio or deck, weather permitting. Your home wifi should reach your backyard if your work hasn’t provided you with a mobile hotspot.

That being noted, this week focus on…..increasing the frequency of your longer walks. 

Last week we talked about increasing the duration of your higher intensity bouts, which means maintaining your jogging pace for greater distance in your walks than you previously had; hopefully even doubling the distance you were jogging! 

This week we want to you to add another long walk to your week.  🏃‍♂️🏃‍♀️ Currently you have been, hopefully, doing a longer walk once a week, typically over the weekend. That longer walk should be at least double your other walks in regards to duration.  Now, we want you to continue to perform that longer walk PLUS add a second longer walk. The second longer walk should be a few days from the first; so midweek if the other is on the weekend.

Practically speaking let’s say your typical walk/jog is coming in around 20-30 minutes now and your longer walk on the weekend is coming in closer to an hour.  You should continue to aim for these time frames but on additional day during the week (Wednesday, perhaps ) try to walk/jog for  30- 45 minutes.  

Looking at those durations for walking and realizing you’re not there yet?  That’s ok! Pace yourself to your comfort level.  Some of us are going to take longer than others to reach the 5K training goals. If you currently don’t have the endurance, then keep on getting out there, walking for longer periods;  you WILL get there! 

If you’re not there yet only because you didn’t know you should be there…no worries. It’s just time to hustle a bit more and get up to those time frames!

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For those individuals who were primarily walking on the treadmill and are now outside, the goal remains the same.  Just don’t get frustrated if it is taking a little longer than when you were on the treadmill. Remember, you are no longer in a controlled environment.  Things like the wind, hills, the condition of the road/sidewalk, and even traffic could negatively impact your walk compared to being in a gym.

If you are still able to walk on a treadmill in the house, then just increase your time once mid-week.  However, now that the weather is taking a turn for the better, start trying to get outside where (in theory) the 5ks are normally run.    

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REMEMBER! Just because we are adding another longer duration walk to our week doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still be jogging intermittently throughout our walks.  Keep jogging at regular intervals in your current walks because in short order the goal is going to be 100% jogging for a distance.

Some Tips 

Keep checking up with our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as we continue to post items to help you out along this journey. For example, if you plan on walking outside check out our post on hydration in an effort to avoid dehydration, especially for that long walk of the week. Revisit our post on stretching post-walk to make sure you aren’t getting too sore and our post on layering to make sure you are dressed appropriately for all of the weather changes.  

Finally,  If you want another excuse to leave the house swing by the clinics with your old shoes or sneakers as we are having a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls with an additional $1 donation going to local chairites in both the Chester and Bridgewater Areas.  You can even  leave them at the door if you like!

Charities and local organizations that beneFIT from your shoe donations are:

Remember, starting any exercise or fitness training is taxing on the body. Before starting any activity you should consult a healthcare professional to ensure you can start the program. So if you feel like something is wrong or you are more sore than usual, please give us a call to get that screening scheduled. If you have any questions or concerns about starting this walking program feel free to contact our Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700) location to schedule a free medical screening with one of our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy to ensure you are starting off & continuing on the right foot! 👟