When it comes to exercise and weight-loss, the benefits of walking are often overlooked. Many believe that this low to moderate intensity exercise does not provide the levels of physical activity that are needed to meet their goals, and instead resort to the idea that running and other forms of cardio are the better options. Before you run, however, you must first walk… and we have good news. You can walk your way into fitness and health!
When we take the time to walk, we are creating a natural connection between our thoughts and our well-being that does the following:
- Enhances creativity
- Boosts healthy chemicals in the brain
- Generates new brain cells for learning and memory processes
- Improves blood pressure and cholesterol
- Builds our endurance
In fact, running on a treadmill, cycling, or doing other types of higher intensity cardio exercises won’t always produce the same mental-physical sync as walking can. However, before beginning a routine or program that you can ease into, it’s important to understand the factors which will help you achieve your specific weight and health goals.
Make the Most Out of Each Walk with these Tips
To take your first steps into health, remember to start slow and let your body adapt. For example, consider the following:
- Begin by standing up during a commercial break to walk
- Walk for a number of minutes every day without overworking your body
- Gradually ease yourself into increasing the length of time that you walk, or the intensity with which you do so.
Walking alone does got give you all of the excellent health benefits that come with powerful exercise, however. Exercise intensity is also key, and you should keep this in mind as you progress through your routine/program. To help you find the intensity that works for you, familiarize yourself with these terms:
Maximal Heart Rate – This is how fast your heart can beat in one minute at its maximum. At different percentages, your body will realize different health differences:
- 50 – 60 Percent – Blood pressure lowers, cholesterol improves and muscle mass is stimulated. Fat calories are burned.
- 60 – 70 Percent – Fat is burned more rapidly and endurance strengthens.
- 70 – 80 Percent – More substantial cardiovascular benefits are realized.
- 80 – 90 or 90 – 100 Percent – Greater amounts of burned calories come from carbohydrates instead of fat, so fat-loss zones can be deceiving. This zone is not for the beginner exerciser.
VO2 Max Text – This is a metabolic test, administered by a fitness professional, that helps you determine how many calories and what type of calories you are burning in relation to your heart during exercise. This kind of test is ideal if you’re looking for zones that will match your goals based on your current fitness level and health.
Begin Your Walking Program on the Right Track!
To customize your own walking program that works for you, consider a few things before making a structure that you will stick with:
- Environment – Do you exercise best indoors? Outdoors? What locations motivate you the most?
- Inspiration – What will help you stay inspired? You might try finding the right music or walking with a friend or family member. Also, keep your end goals in mind!
- Schedule – What days and times can you commit to without feeling overburdened? When is your stamina at its highest?
- Special Tools – Activity logs, heart rate monitors and pedometers are excellent tools for keeping tabs on your specific workouts. Use them to stay organized and work out at your maximum potential!
Walking is an excellent form of exercise, but as with any physical activity, you must first ease yourself into it and make sure you’re doing what’s best for your body. Allow yourself time to make progress, and don’t forget to incorporate your specific fitness goals so you’re exercising with a purpose. Happy walking!
Looking for More Information about Walking, Weight and Health?
You can view the full article from Your Weight Matters Magazine by CLICKING HERE.