In a previous post I encouraged readers to burn calories by walking.
Recently, I caught up with a friend who’s a hard-core athlete so sometimes our fit-goals are different. After talking a bit, I suggested he consider adding walks to his regimen. Another friend recently recovered from a herniated disk. He was cleared for regular activity by therapists and when we got in the gym we spent our time walking on the treadmill before finishing up with a few basic core moves-that was it.
You may ask, “Just what type of fitness advice is simply telling someone to go walk?” It’s true there’s nothing fancy about it but walking is perhaps the best way to get started immediately once you’ve committed to fit. If you don’t believe in the effectiveness of walking you’re missing out-and so in this entry I am going to talk the talk about walking the walk.
Let me build a case why walking is a great place to get started (or a great way to stay moving depending on your fitness level). For starters, tell me if you like the sound of these benefits:
• Lower your LDL (Bad Cholesterol)
• Raise your HDL (Good Cholesterol)
• Lower your Blood Pressure
• Reduce your risk or manage type 2 diabetes
• Improve your mood / reduces stress
• Lose weight / Manage your weight
• strengthen your back muscles
• slim your waste
• increase bone strength
• improve circulation
• tones your legs and butt
• spend time with your favorite people or be a great dog owner and take your four-legged friend
Not a shabby list by any means I think you would agree. Many people don’t realize whether you walk a mile or run, your body still burns about 100 calories. It may take more time to log the distance but it’s also easier to walk more miles than to run. Also, many Ill-prepared newbie runners with their hearts in the right place end up with tendinitis and other injuries.
If we are talking about losing big weight, ‘getting there’ is going to take a while. Those that keep the weight off take their time with the process and approach training and eating the right way. Walking is a great way to prime yourself for more rigorous activity; it keeps you in the game and injury free so you can stay on course burning cals en route to your goal.
You may be thinking, “But there are so many other more effective ways to reach my goal that won’t take me forever” This is true but hear me out. The human body can do amazing things. We’ve seen Olympic athletes push the body to its greatest athletic potential-likewise for other athletes. What they are able to do, however, is a result of serious preparation to get their bodies to perform.
My point is not to discourage you from challenging yourself; after all, our body was designed to be active. My point is that although we have the capability to push our physical limits it’s important to do so intelligently and gradually. High-intensity activities when not used properly can lead to injury- especially if you have not been active. If you already use high intensity workouts an occasional walk will serve as a beneficial break for your body. Think of different styles of exercise as just one of many different tools at your disposal. You wouldn’t use a hammer for every single home repair.
As with any new fitness endeavor it is wise to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program! Once you’ve done that, don’t delay in getting more active so you can reach your goal. For now, try walking it out consistently and check back to this blog for ideas on mixing it up in the future.
Below are tips on getting started with your exercise:
If you are going from inactive, start by walking 3x’s a week 30 minutes each day.
Once you have walked 3 or more days per week consistently for a few weeks slowly increase your pace. You can use the talk test to gauge your effort, if you can carry a conversation on throughout your walk you may want to pick up the intensity. It’s good to be working at a pace where you can have light conversation but otherwise need to conserve your breaths for exercise.
For the already fit, it’s easy to tweak a few variables and benefit from your walk. Here’s how:
Switch to a trail or a stroll on sand to make your walk more challenging. These surfaces force you to activate more muscles throughout your body to keep stable. By doing this you burn more calories improve your balance and improve your muscle tone. (This concept is called propreoception.)
Increase your heart rate and intensity: choosing hills and increasing speed will accomplish this but don’t hang on to the treadmill-you will defeat the purpose.
For those more advanced, try this routine by Jeff Bell ( he’s a fitness expert check him out, http://bit.ly/Ui3BYX ). It’s designed for an average hombre or chica wanting to stay lean while retaining muscle.
• start with a speed you can comfortably handle at an incline of 1 percent to 3 percent. Maintain for 5 minutes.
• Next, raise the speed to between 4.2 and 5mph and incline from 8 to 12. Walk at this setting for 30 seconds then recover for 10-20 seconds before repeating for another 20 seconds. Continue for 10 minutes.
• Don’t forget the cool down! Lower your speed to 3-3.5 and your incline back down to 1 and walk for at least another 5 minutes.
Now, if you were looking for a plan on how to get started here it is! Go walk it out!
Links I like:
Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle:
Web MD Make your walk a workout:
According to the Mayo Health Clinic, walking can reduce risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise like jogging: http://mayocl.in/9MQTLp
What a great post! It’s true that life can be hectic especially in the morning when your on the way out the door. If you have a few minutes of free time then why not fit a couple of moves in!
September is Yoga Month. Here are some top reasons to practice. Image from Center your Health, a Holistic Spa and Wellness Center located in Red Bank, New Jersey. You can like them on Facebook or visit their site: toyourhealthnj.com
I love this fitness tough love advice. If it’s fried, glows a flourescent color from dyes, is loaded with fat or sugar, or otherwise an outlier to what you know is a healthy way of eating..this is a thought worth remembering! Enjoying yourself once in a while is OK, but don’t treat your stomach like a trash bin-it’s not!