Walking is one of the most over-looked forms of exercise. The beauty of walking is that it can easily be turned into a quality work-out, people of all ages can benefit from it and it can be done just about anywhere. Unlike some sports or recreational activities, you don’t need a partner, so you can do it on your schedule and don’t have to rely on any one else, but it’s also a wonderful experience to share with someone when possible.
All forms of walking are considered exercise, but there is a clear difference between a pleasurable stroll in the park and a “walking workout.” Both have their merits no doubt, but a “walking workout” is done at a much faster pace in which we increase our breathing to raise the heart rate over a prolonged period of time without stopping.
In the past, walking was considered too easy to be taken seriously as a legitimate form of exercise, but recent studies have proved that thinking wrong. The benefits of walking have now been verified to be an excellent means of greatly improving one’s over-all physical fitness.
Recent research confirms that walking, when done on a regular basis, at an increased pace can improve our body’s ability to consume oxygen during exertion, reduce high blood pressure, lower the body’s resting heart rate, boost the heart and lungs efficiency and is also a effective way to control weight by helping to burn a significant amount of calories when done properly.
The result of a recent study on walking reports that walking burns close to the same amount of calories per mile as does jogging. Walking at a brisk pace, one mile in 15 minutes burns approximately the same number of calories as jogging the same distance in 8.5 minutes.
Walking is also a much safer alternative to the damaging jarring effects (most common negative effects to the untrained runner are; knee pain, ankle, shin, hamstring and lower back pain) of jogging especially in regards to over-weight /out of shape individuals and participants of age. As a seasoned professional personal trainer, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories of people who are “out of shape and over-weight” getting the fitness bug and jamming out the front door for a two mile run. The next day they are in so much pain, they can’t walk and return to the couch for good. I commend them for making the attempt, but had they jammed out the front door for a “brisk walk,” they would have returned feeling great and ready to do it again the next day with little or no pain. Rather than throwing in the towel (which unfortunately probably isn’t the first time), they would have been on their way to a regular routine, which would result in healthier and more active lifestyle. Since obesity and high blood pressure are among the leading risk factors for heart attack, stroke and death, walking offers significant protection against two of our major killers.
While walking is excellent exercise to improve aerobic conditioning, walking alone is not a “do-all” or complete fitness program. You will need to add some daily “Stretching” like some Yoga and a “Strength training” program like some light-weight training two times a week and in no time you will be a new person.
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