The walk belt is an accessory most commonly marketed for use with Leslie Sansone's "Walk At Home" exercise videos. It consists of a Velcro belt and two elastic tubes with handles. The tubes clip into a single loop at the back of the belt. The walk belt allows you to perform basic resistance band exercises while stepping in place or walking around your neighborhood.
Your triceps are the muscles on the back side of your upper arms. You exercise them automatically with your natural walking arm movements. Use the walk belt to intensify this triceps-toning movement. Grasp the handles, bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, turn your palms in towards your sides, then, as you take each step, swing the corresponding arm from the shoulder to bring your hand up to chest height. You should feel resistance from the walk belt tubes throughout the full range of triceps motion.
Your biceps are the muscles on the front side of your upper arms. Tone them by incorporating a bicep curl motion into your walking workout. Grasp the walk belt handles and bend your arm from the elbow, palms facing front and up. Keep your upper arm stationary beside your torso in order to isolate the biceps in this movement.
Performing variations on the chest fly while grasping the walk belt handles can help tone your upper chest. Leslie Sansone demonstrates a version of this in her 3 Mile Calorie Blast video. Open your arms to a spread-eagle position, palms facing downward, then bring your arms forward until the handles touch in front of your chest. You can vary this exercise by turning your palms to face each other or by slightly raising or lowering your arms to different angles with respect to your torso.
Even without the walk belt, walking is an effective cardiovascular workout. It's low-impact, easy for beginners, and burns a surprising number of calories. Performing walk belt arm exercises while you walk can increase the aerobic effect of your normal 30 to 60 minute walk. To get even more out of your workout, vary your speed, alternating brief periods at a faster pace with longer periods of a moderate pace. This method, known as "interval training," burns more calories and increases your aerobic endurance.
The belt should be snug around your waist, but you should still be able to insert one or two fingers between yourself and the belt.
If you're new to walking exercises, start slow and keep your first sessions to 10 or 15 minutes. Work your way up to longer, higher intensity workouts gradually.
Allow time for warming up your muscles and stretching calves, quadriceps and hamstrings beforehand. After your workout, allow yourself a similar cool-down period of slow, easy walking. Stretch again.
Nicole LeBoeuf-Little is a freelancer from New Orleans, writing professionally since 1994. Recent short stories appear on Ideomancer.com and in Ellen Datlow's anthology "Blood and Other Cravings." She has published articles in "Pangaia Magazine" and eGuides at StyleCareer.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Washington and attended the professional SF/F workshop Viable Paradise.