As we know, walking is a great form of exercise and easily accessible for nearly everyone interested in beginning a fitness regime. Oftentimes, however, those new to exercise lack the motivation or the know-how to even take the first step. Marina’s high-nrg fitness Walking CD (and other audio workouts) is meant to help anyone interested in getting started find motivation to head out the door and keep walking.
Marina has personally written and selected each track to support the multi-leveled walking workout on this walking CD. She even sings all the tracks. Along the way, she interjects motivational segues that compliment the song or the specific part of the workout to keep you focused and on track. Her vocal abilities definitely set this CD apart and she even asks you to sing along which could be useful if tied into some sort of ‘talk test’ to gauge the walker’s intensity.
Regarding the layout of the audio tracks and information provided, it would be best if the Instructions were the first track (instead of coming at the end of the warm-up). As well, a brief suggestion as to how to decide if you are Level 1, 2 or 3 would be helpful. As is, the only determinant for your level is how long you are interested in working out. While this may be a first step towards your decision, a mention of the miles per hour (MPH) you will be walking or the intensity that will be suggested would also be beneficial.
Throughout the workout, mentions of how long the workout is (i.e. ‘if you are participating in Level 1 workout today, we will be going for 20 minutes) and time check ins throughout (i.e. ‘level 1 walkers, you only have 8 minutes remaining), would help the exerciser monitor their intensity and provide the appropriate effort to be successful and achieve results. It would also help to give hints along the way as to what the walker should be feeling (i.e. ‘ we are five minutes into the workout, you should still be able to talk to your walking partner but feel like you are working’).
The warm-up should include slower paced walking prior to any stretching. As industry guidelines indicate, gently increasing the body temperature is important prior to stretching. The stretching included happens straight away and doesn’t enhance the workout in any way. The same could be said for the cool-down. While plenty of time is provided for bringing the heart rate down after the final push of the workout, it would be helpful to mention what you should be feeling during the last few minutes before the stretch and helping the walker know if he/she needs to continue before stopping all together. The stretches should also include more focus on the muscles used during walking in the lower body.
As for the content of the workout, unfortunately, there just isn’t much substance. While the variance in tempo helps to move walkers from Level 1 to 2 to 3, this is the only ‘variable’ in the workout. Of course, walking is a simple workout and the fact that the workout remains uncomplicated is a bonus. However, a simple change of intensity throughout the workout (i.e. 2 minutes of moderate walking followed by 1 minute of hard walking) or technique focus (i.e. the pumping of the arms, the length of the stride, etc) would help to break up the monotony and ensure that whatever ‘level’ you are looking for is available. If the intent were to provide an endurance workout, simply explaining and having the walker challenge what he/she could accomplish over a specified time frame would enhance the product and the effects of the workout, as well.
While the music is upbeat and the twist that Marina provides with singing and talking directly to the walker is interesting, at times the motivation was a bit over the top. While I would have liked to see more talking (there were long stretches of just music), when instruction is introduced it would be nice to have solid information versus blanketed motivation (e.g., “Good job!”). The use of unique songs and tying the song titles or lyrics into the motivation was a fun addition.
The walking workout will best be used by exercisers simply looking for an upbeat song list with pre-determined, timed workouts to keep them motivated. The exerciser should already know walking technique and have a clear idea of what types of intensity he/she wants to use for the duration of the workout to make this CD effective.
What we liked:
- The upbeat sound of the CD
- Easy-to-follow instructions for the walking segments
- Ability to customize one CD for a variety of fitness levels
- The price and ease with which you could download versus having to wait for shipment
What we didn't like:
- Lack of information regarding how to choose your level / differentiation of the levels
- Lack of technical cues or suggestions during the workout
- Over the top, non-specific motivation that was recycled throughout the workout
- Warm-up and cool-down do not meet industry standard safety / effectiveness guidelines
October 11, 2010