Adopt eccentric walking to boost muscle strength, balance 

Adopt eccentric walking to boost muscle strength, balance 

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eccentric walking

It can not only help in maintaining mobility and independence among older adults, but can also contribute to better cognitive function and help lower the risk of age-related muscle wasting.

There are good reasons why walking is the preferred exercise for countless people. It’s cost-effective, it requires no special equipment or training, and can fit into small pockets of time. However, conventional walking does not make for a comprehensive exercise routine, particularly in terms of muscle strengthening and improving balance. There’s a simple way to make walking more effective add a dose of “eccentricity” to the walk! 

In an interesting study, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology earlier this year, researchers found that inserting lunges in conventional walking could help improve muscle strength, balance, physical and cognitive function in walkers aged 54 to 88 years. Although the sample size was small, the researchers make an important point about ageing and fitness. Incorporating eccentric walking can not only help in maintaining mobility and independence among older adults, but can also contribute to better cognitive function and potentially lower the risk of age-related muscle wasting.

Here are practical steps to incorporate eccentric walking into your fitness routine: 

  • Start with conventional walking to build a foundation of endurance and cardiovascular health.
  • Gradually incorporate eccentric exercises like lunges, walking downhill, or down the stairs into your routine. Start with a small number of eccentric steps and slowly increase the steps over time.
  • Use available resources, such as stairs, slopes, or even inclined paths in parks, to perform eccentric exercises without the need for special equipment.
  • Consistency is key. Aim to integrate these eccentric movements consistently, targeting at least twice a week, as recommended for muscle-strengthening exercises.
  • Track improvements in muscle strength, balance, and overall physical fitness. Simple tests, such as the 30-second chair stand test, can help monitor progress.
  • Complement eccentric walking with other moderate-intensity exercises like cycling or swimming for added benefits. 

By incorporating eccentric walking, or muscle-lengthening contractions, you can take proactive steps towards a healthier, more active lifestyle, ultimately enhancing the quality of your life and extending your healthspan. While it may seem unconventional at first, the benefits will make it a valuable addition to your exercise routine.

Read More : Fact-check: No need to walk 10,000 steps daily to stay fit

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