This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago and it seems as pertinent today as it was then. Nationally, our overweight and obesity numbers are just not getting any better and it doesn't have to be that way. Here it is, let me know what you think.
Walk, run, swim, cycle, hike, weight-train, which is the best for your health?
Which one will give you the best, most immediate results in terms of aerobic fitness, muscular fitness and flexibility?
We are all searching for answers. We all hope to find the quickest way to improve or maybe regain our health.
But what about walking? Most of us think of walking as something you do maybe to get yourself started again on the road to fitness, but as our primary method of fitness?
Here’s some thoughts to consider;
A brisk walk for 30-60 minutes can produce a deficit of as much as 300 to 400 calories depending on your current level of fitness.
Making that same walk just 3 or 4 times a week over the course of a year could result in a weight loss of 16 pounds. That assumes you don’t change your current diet.
Combine that walking with a reasonable diet and the numbers multiply quickly.
Not bad for one of the most underrated exercises of all.
On top of that, research shows that 10 minutes 3 times a day offers the same benefit as 30 minutes 1 time a day. Sorry, no more excuses for not having enough time!
But let’s consider some of the other benefits:
Walking impacts the three major areas of health and fitness; aerobic fitness, muscular strength and flexibility. Not many other activities hit all three at such a consistent level as walking.
When done with proper form walking represents a much lower risk of joint injury than many other forms of exercise.
It can be done almost anywhere. Want to swim? You need a pool or a lake or ocean.
Want to cycle? First you need the equipment and then you need a reasonably safe place to ride.
Still not convinced?
Let’s get personal. In November and December of 2003, while on an extended visit to Michigan, I decided to walk each day. It gave me the opportunity to get out and see the town and meet the people.
When I arrived in Michigan I weighed in at 235 pounds and had a 40 inch waist. I jumped right in the first morning with a good brisk walk. I probably walked 4 miles that first day, but that was enough.
Now mind you I walked every single day for the 60 days I was there, but when I arrived home in California I was a slim 190 pounds with a 31 inch waist.
Yes, that’s 60 days! I walked a lot more than 30 minutes, in fact usually it was more like 2 to 3 hours, but still we’re talking about 60 days not 365 days to lose that kind of weight.
And I felt fantastic to boot!
I’m not saying that everyone will get the same results that I did, but if you got even a quarter of the results in 60 days, you’d be pretty happy wouldn’t you?
Walking is definitely not a myth and I’m not sure it’s a miracle either, but it sure does rank right up there as one of the best all around exercises of all time!
Always consult a physician before beginning any exercise program.
If you would like to learn more about walking and it’s benefits, I'll be happy hook you up with some other great resources.
Let me know your thoughts!