A nice long walk today to downtown Portsmouth, Pierce Island, the commercial fishing pier, through the old fishing village and Strawbery Bank, back downtown to the running store — picked up a new pair of running shoes — and home!
My new shoes are soooo comfy, they feel like I’m walking on Tempur-Pedic foam, and for the price they should! But I needed a new pair, my old ones made my toes go numb, uggh.
Let’s compare the benefits of walking to running. Both walking and running will improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, help you lose weight and improve your overall fitness. Unlike bicycling, both are weight bearing exercise, so both will help build bone density.
Walking is definitely easier on your feet, knees and lower back. It is one of the safest exercises and provides the cardiovascular benefits without the stresses of running. But to get the same benefits of running, you have to walk briskly and walk longer — about twice as long. In terms of calories burned, an hour of walking equals a half hour of running.
For maximum health and weight loss benefits, you have to walk “briskly”. Strolling around the block won’t do it. Ideally, you should work up to waking a 15 minute per mile pace, or 4 miles an hour.
To get used to that pace, start on a treadmill. Walk comfortably for a few minutes to get your base line pace; then increase the pace by .5 for as long as you can; rest by going back down to your comfortable pace. When you feel at ease, increase your pace again, etc.
Walking is great exercise. It is easy on your joints, it is free, and it is easy. Walking also has tremendous health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking can:
- Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
- Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your mood
- Improve your overall fitness
A healthy goal is 10,000 steps a day. Translated into distance, that is about 5 miles a day. But you don’t have to set out on long walks every day, you can pick up miles without even knowing it!
To track your steps, pick up a pedometer at any drug store or sporting goods store. (note: the cheap pedometers go click, click, click when you walk and they get annoying, so you may want to get a good one). Wear the pedometer for a few days to get an idea of how many steps you typically take, then try to increase it 500-1000 steps a day until you work up to 10,000 steps.
Whenever possible, walk. Walk the dog a little further, walk with a friend, park further from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, whenever possible walk to the bank, the post office or the coffee shop. If they are too far, drive part of the way, then walk the rest of the way. Some other ideas: when you have to take the kids to practice, use the waiting time to walk — they don’t want you watching anyway; or schedule a walking meeting rather than a lunch!
Posted in Exercise