Walking is a popular form of exercise, but may not be enough to experience significant health benefits, a University of Alberta study shows. The study suggests that low-intensity walks are not likely going to give anybody marked health benefits compared to programs that occasionally elevate the intensity.
This leads to concerns that while people with health issues are encouraged to increase their volume of activity with walking, there may not be enough focus on the effort that needed to go into the activity.
Do you feel like you get a good workout out of your walks?
My friend and I were just talking about this today and we both concluded that although we're both healthy and active (I run/spin/strength train daily and do 10-12 miles runs or half-Iron bricks on the weekends), we both burn the most percentage of fat calories ... walking! I'm a huge fan. You mention the study says "low intensity" walks may not work and I think that's the key -- I think a higher-intensity walk of sufficient duration that elevates the heart rate into the aerobic zone does provide health benefits. ("Sufficient duration," from what I read, is considered to be at least 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise, like running, or 50 minutes of lower-intensity exercise, like walking, at least three times a week.) Like you say, I think it is necessary to focus on the effort -- whatever "effort" might be to each walker -- in order to truly benefit from the activity. Anecdotally, I'd say walking works for those who do put in the effort -- I know two people who have both lost 50+ pounds simply by walking. (Neither likes running.)
Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.
I'm new to this site, but not to exercising. I have run and walked thousands of miles, as I am sure many of you have also. I believe that effort is the key, getting your heart rate up there and a sweat is great for me. Sometimes it is harder to walk hard and fast than to break into a run.