Need to start exercising? What could be easier than walking? Fitness walking reaps as many rewards as other physical activities, and you don’t need special equipment or training.
The Benefits of Fitness Walking continued…
As an active member of volkssporting groups, she and her husband have traveled by foot in all 50 states, and are now working on traversing through all the state capitals. They have met many friends through treks and have seen people begin lifelong relationships.
Fitness walking “gives people purpose to get out and do something,” says Cottrill. “It improves their health, it improves their blood pressure, they can lose weight, and it just keeps them flexible.”
Cottrill’s observations correspond well with the scientific research on physical activity. According to the AHA, vigorous activities that include brisk walking and moderate activities that include walking for pleasure can help reduce the following risk factors for heart disease:
High blood pressure
Obesity and overweight
High levels of triglycerides
Low levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol)
Additionally, Richard Stein, MD, AHA spokesman, says fitness walking is easy to do and can achieve the same cardiovascular benefits as many forms of physical activity.
“The heart is really a very nice organ,” he says. “It really doesn’t know whether you’re walking barefoot on the beach or you’re in $4,000 Nike gear in a million-dollar treadmill.”
Good forms of exercise supposedly include activities that burn fat, use large muscle groups, or happen over long distances, particularly if there is no resistance involved.
For older people afflicted with arthritis, Hoffmann says fitness walking can actually ease pain instead of cause it. “There is a huge body of research that shows that the symptoms of arthritis are usually relieved by walking, that if people will get up and get moving, they will find that their joints will get better and they will be less stiff and less sore.”
At the other end of the spectrum, walking can also help meet children’s healthneeds, says Charles Corbin, MD, author of the NASPE’s physical activity guidelines. “Kids need to expend enough calories during the day to maintain desirable weight,” he says. “Plus, they need to expend energy consistent with building bones and muscles for fitness and normal growth and development.”
The Basics of Fitness Walking
Most people may think they’ve mastered this skill at toddler age, but certain steps apparently need to be taken in order to maximize the health benefits of going by foot:
Timetable: The surgeon general recommends moderate amounts of activities such as a brisk walk of at least 30 minutes a day every day for overall health. The NASPE proposes that kids get more — from 60 minutes up to several hours of physical activity (which includes walking) a day — on most, if not all days of the week. People looking to lose weight are encouraged by the AARP to hit the pavement at least an hour a day for most days. For heart, lung, and circulation health, the AHA suggests 30 minutes of vigorous activity (including walking) a day, three to four times a week. Many of these guidelines allow time requirements to be non-continuous, with bouts of physical activity sprinkled throughout the day.
MikeZume_walking step by step for fitness
Please consult your physician before starting any exercise or weight loss program.
Your physician is your very best resource.