Panaerobic Walking

Image courtesy
Image courtesy

The title “Panaerobic Walking” is a bit misleading. After all, “HeavyHands” was by Dr. Schwartz’ definition “panaerobic”, i.e. seeking to mobilize as much muscle tissue as possible to process oxygen by using all four limbs simultaneously in a series of “inefficient” motions (i.e. motions unnecessary to accomplish the basic tasks of walking, jogging or running).

Still, the term “Panaerobic Walking” or “Strength Endurance Walking” may be useful to describe an adaptation of “Heavyhands” or “Panaerobics” some users (like the curator of this blog) enjoy using. Here’s the blog curator’s personal experience:

My wife and I went walking at a state park. I didn’t have the opportunity for my normal workout that day so I wondered what I could do that day to transform an otherwise leisurely walk into a great workout?

We ended up walking in two separate parks that day… first for 30 minutes and later for 45 on two greatly different trails then about an hour the next day. And because of the focus on effort and intensity, we cared more about the TIME spent walking than the distance.

Here’s how I increased the intensity following panaerobic principles:

  • Did Isotonometric moves as described here in “Purposeful Primitive“, while adapting movements found here and “Pushing Yourself to Power“.
  • Clenched fists and kept arms pumping at “Level 2” and “Level 3” (shoulder height and head height respectively). Clenched fists increases the tension to offset the fact I had not brought weights that day.
  • Used relatively small rocks as “HeavyHands” weights.
  • Picked up and carried larger rocks, especially in the overhead position.
  • “Marched” with exaggerated hand motions and high knee steps.
  • Doing knee bends and incline pushups, as “active rest” during some or all of our stops along the path.
  • Choosing longer and more up hill paths when possible.

The second day we repeated the process at another trail. I remembered to bring some 1lb “HeavyHands” that day along with a nylon strap for rowing.  In addition to constant arm swinging to levels 2 and 3, the strap allowed “45 degree rowing” at appropriate trees, and I made a more concerted effort to maximize the number of deep knee bends through the walk, doing sets of 10 for 100 total throughout the walk.

This type of walking was a great way to spend time with my wife and get a good workout for both of us though our fitness levels are significantly different. In the future I plan to be more intentional in finding suitable local walking paths that – in addition to allowing me to walk either with “HeavyHands” or while doing “Isotonometrics” – would also allow plenty of opportunities for knee bends, incline pushups, 45 degree rowing or other calisthenic moves. To get “really Panaerobic”, I’d want to find a place to do Squat Pulls and Good Morning Dips for the best results!  The main thing is to keep moving and keep 4 limbs moving simultaneously as much as possible. Probably a walking area near a playground would be ideal! (Now if I could just find one with great rocks to lift too!)

Being able to do “panaerobic walking” and 100 knee bends “out of the box” means there’s probably lots of room for improvement… using heavier weights, higher repetitions of knee bends, pushups, and rows, walking using a weighted vest, etc. The prospects are exciting because this was an unexpected, but very enjoyable way to work out!

As mentioned above, this variant of panaerobics can be especially helpful if two people are trying to work out at the same time, but the two have different fitness levels. A person just starting out could walk at a leisurely or moderate pace, while the other could walk at approximately the same pace while using “HeavyHands”, doing “Isotonometrics”, and/or doing a variety of calisthenic movements to increase the overall endurance effect of the walk. Both are then able to benefit as much as possible at their respective levels of fitness.

Note: While not strictly informed by “Panaerobic” principles, you may get some ideas for your “Panaerobic Walk” from this video:

Let us know your experiences doing “Panaerobic Walking” as described here!

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