It’s true, at least that is what the American Heart Association (AHA) has found. They say that “by starting a walking regimen, you will gain two hours of life expectancy for every hour of vigorous exercise”. I know what you are thinking but walking IS a serious form of exercise and depending on your pace can be quite vigorous too.
For the most part, a pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. So, in order to lose 1 pound a week you will need to burn 3500 more calories than you eat that week. Losing one pound of fat a week is a sensible and achievable goal which requires a reduction of approximately 500 calories per day. A rule of thumb is 100 calories per mile but the AHA says you could burn 125 calories per half hour depending on your pace.
When it comes to exercise, walking is easy and all you have to do is tie your shoes, open the door and place one foot in front of the other. It is also cheap, accessible and an excellent way to maintain health, increase your energy level and improve your mood.
The two most important things to keep in mind when starting a walking routine are shoes and form. You want to make sure that you wear proper shoe wear.
Focus on savoring the outdoors, no matter the season, and you’ll be a natural walker. If you choose to stride inside, listen to music while strolling in a mall or walking on a treadmill. On a scale of 1 to 10, in which 1 is napping on the couch and 10 is gasping for air, aim to walk at a pace of about 5. You should be able to talk, but with slight breathlessness.
Keep it interesting by changing routes and music. Feel free to customize the length, speed and style of your walking program to suit your individual health and fitness goals.
Mix things up. Check with your local Humane Society to see if they have weekly dog walkings in which you take out a pound pup for a much-needed walk along a trail. Or, if you’re ready for the commitment, think about adopting one to make every walk more of an adventure. Also, continue to boost the briskness and length of your walks by a few minutes per session.
Stretching a little goes a long way toward pain-free walking. After your walks, make sure you stretch to target the muscles you’ve worked- particularly the Achilles tendon and hamstrings. Also, appropriate fitting shoes for your foot type is also imperative to preventing injuries.
In general, walking can be fun and a great exercise. So what are you waiting for….WALK, WALK, WALK!