Everyone should be walking

and walking, and walking, and walking

Everyone should be walking. Most of us should walk more. I should walk a lot more, so unless you’re already walking a lot more than I do, walk more.

In fitness circles, there are debates about whether to count walking as exercise or not. The debates revolve around how good walking is for fat loss and cardio. Some say that yes, the obese need to walk, but mostly because they say it’s all they can do at the start. Later, they might scoff at the idea that people who are more fit need to walk for exercise.

I say they are thinking about the question wrong, so any answer they give is bound to be unhelpful.

 

Let’s get sidetracked for a second…

There was a study recently where it was determined that multi-vitamins did not prevent heart attacks in people who have been diagnosed with heart disease.

Ok… Who prescribes vitamins to prevent a heart attack in the first place? I’m not a huge proponent of drugs or low fat diets, but drugs and diet, not vitamins, are prescribed to prevent heart attacks. So study drugs and diets, why don’tcha?

Like the vitamins for heart attacks bungle, the fitness world often disparages walking as a way to good weight management and ‘heart health.’ Although they are never anti-walking, they usually think it’s not a good choice when you can run, sprint, or lift weights, instead. Good time management, they call it; In 20 minutes, you can burn A LOT more calories running, sprinting, or swinging kettlebells than you can walking), after all.

Only walking isn’t about weight management, but it’s certainly about health.

 

Walking is great exercise

…but it’s not because we need it for burning calories, but because we are living, today, in a walking deficit. Historically, and way before the olden days and the days of yore, we walked a lot. All the time. Everywhere. Remember when there were no cars? Well before that, there were no horses. There were just feet. We walked. All the time. Everywhere.

Walking compressedWalking circulates lymph, reduces blood pressure, restores muscle length and tone, and many other things, thus improving your cardiovascular health. You see, cardio isn’t just about making the heart strong enough to pump blood through kinked and compressed vessels, it’s also about unkinking and uncompressing the vessels so the blood doesn’t have to be pumped so hard. Walking does all this and more. It’s like magic!

I set a goal to walk an average of 10,000 steps a day, with some days a lot higher (weekends and holiday, mostly). Some days I have too many meetings or need to write for hours on end, and struggle to get to 5k, but I try to make that a bare minimum. If it looks like it’s going to be under 5,000, I walk to the store to get avocados or something.

 

Walking ideas

  • Set your weekly goal, but keep it realistic. I went with 70k steps a week.
  • A daily minimum (5k in my case) helps to keep on track.
  • Plan long walks or hikes to make your goal achievable and fun. I walked 17,656 steps today, so far (walk on the beach).
  • Walk to the store and carry the food home. As a bonus, you get to always have fresh food!
  • Walk with someone. I walk with my wife, Galina. Someone has to carry the bags home from the store, right?
  • Keep your iPod charged and loaded up with music or podcasts. If it gets stale, audiobooks or Pandora can save the day.
  • Use an iPod case, not your hands. A natural arm swing is important. Same goes with water bottles and dumbbells. Hands free is key.
  • Yes, you can walk in the rain. Buy a poncho.
  • A treadmill does not count. Walking on a treadmill is controlled falling, not true walking.

 

Have a nice walk!

Roland

 

 

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