How to make the best of the spring seasonThere is no need to get out of the city to enjoy the early summer. Even amid the drab gray concrete, green leaves are sprouting, and flowers are in bloom. Yeouido and Olympic Park are full of green willow trees. Just walking along the Han River is revitalizing. There are several walking routes in Seoul that are refreshing and stress-reducing.
Here are a few suggestions on how to get your blood pumping during the spring and good locales for a brief respite in the city and just beyond.
Power walking is walking fast. The purpose is to add speed to one’s walking to increase cardiovascular endurance and burn as many calories as possible.
To power walk, you should step heel first and take a step with the feeling that you are pushing the ground away with your toes. However, don’t take huge strides. Walk briskly with short paces and move your arms quickly. Breathe in rhythms. If you come across an obstacle, do not stop and keep your pace.
The intensity of walking should be maintained to keep a rapid heart rate (60-85 percent of the peak heart rate). To calculate your target heart beat rate, subtract your age from 220.
For example, the highest heart rate of a person who is 40 years old would be 180. Therefore, the target heart rate for this person would be 108 to 153 beats per minute.
Even after power walking, one should keep walking until the heart beat drops to 100 per minute. But immediately stop if you feel dizzy or sick. Next time, reduce the amount of exercise by half. If you start power walking suddenly, it can be harmful to the joints, so try to increase the intensity session by session. Wear sneakers with good cushioning and round bottoms.
This stride gets its name from the Masai tribe. Stand upright and naturally push your body to the front as you move your feet forward with your body.
When looking at the frozen pose of a person Masai walking, the legs should be behind the body. Taking in 50 percent of your deepest breath at once is best.
If you continue to walk for more than an hour at this pace it might be harmful to the joints. When first starting, do this for only fifteen minutes, increasing by five to 10 minutes a week. After finishing, stretch to relax your feet muscles. Putting your feet in warm water is also helpful.
People who start running for exercise might later dream of completing a full marathon. But since a full race is tough, beginners should only try half marathons. However, doctors warn that if runners are not prepared, half marathons are only a dream.
If you are running for exercise, 10 kilometers is enough. Why do people enter marathons and endure the pain? It is because experiencing the limit of one’s physical condition and overcoming it lends huge self-confidence.
But first you need to be prepared. You need to be prepared to endure hard training to run a full course.
Second, you need to be able to run 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) nonstop. Speed is not important. If you can run without stopping then you have the basics. Third, if you ever feel pain in your ankles or knees while running, you should develop your muscles. You must be in a “painless” condition to start training without getting hurt.
To be able to complete a half marathon, you must be able to run 10 kilometers every day. Running up and down low mountains is a good way to improve your muscles and endurance. To improve one’s speed, run fast and slow in sets, which is known as interval training. Increase the distance by 20 percent every two weeks.
Keeping the same pace is also very important since it helps you keep your pace during the actual race. After tough training, be sure to rest. Other than running skills, one needs muscular strength to run. Your knees, thigh and ankles must be strong enough to handle a long run.
To strengthen your knees, stretch out your legs as wide as your shoulders and bend down in a sitting pose. Stay for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times. For your thighs, sit on a chair and support your body with both arms and stretch out your legs, staying in that pose for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times. To strengthen the ankles, climb stairs using the tips of the toes.
When one reaches the top of a mountain, the person is alone on the peak. But when someone tromps through mountains and rivers, they are able to get in touch with nature. To feel nature, there is no need to fly to Nepal or Tibet. The regions of Korea are enough to feel nature. You don’t need any training or professional equipment. Just pack a sack and leave. This is known as countryside trekking.
A good place to trek is Jindong Stream, starting from Jeombong Mountain in Gangwon province. Some effort is required to traverse the uneven dirt roads of Jindongli but it is worth it. Near Jochimryeong, it might be more comfortable to walk than to ride on the bumpy roads. Large fields of purple eulalias are eye-opening.
The ranch life
Working inside gray skyscrapers makes people crave green vistas. Ranches with endless green grass are astonishing. If you have children, it’s great to let them see life on a ranch ― including milking cows. The dairy experience program, which started last year, is the best to fulfill the desire to wander in the meadows.
More ranches are closed to the public nowadays because of conditions such as hoof and mouth disease.
But three places are open for visitors: Nongdowon is located in Yongin, Gyeonggi province; Taeshin in Dangjin, South Chungcheong province; and Gyoah in Paju, Gyeonggi province.
Each ranch has a specialized program where people can feed cows, make dairy products and tour a milk factory. Admission is 72,000 won ($72) for adults and 67,000 won for children under 13 years old. For more information call (02) 6007-5546.
by Lee Jin-baik, Choi Hyeon-chul