Walk Your Way to Better Health
One of the best things you can do for your health is to get outside and talk a walk every day. Taking regular walks has been proven to extend life expectancy by 1.2 years. It has also been proven to reduce heart disease by 30-40%, diabetes by 50%, along with a whole host of other health benefits. The most important benefit is that walking will improve the quality of your life.
Walking Can Have Greater Health Benefits Than Running or Jogging
When you run, you burn 55% fat, 40% carbohydrates, 15% fat, and 3-5% protein. Why is this significant? When you burn fat quickly (such as engaging in aerobic exercise like running or jogging), your body reacts to the sudden loss of fat by replenishing the fat that has been lost, so it still has reserves to pull from. In essence, you are training your body to replace the fat you are burning.
When you walk, you burn 70% carbohydrates, 15% fat, and 5-8% protein. This low intensity exercise causes the body to burn carbohydrates stored in the muscle tissue, before it starts burning fat. Your body replenishes the carbohydrates needed for energy, and not the fat…thus resulting in fat loss. By reducing fat loss, you greatly decrease your chances for many diseases that feed on fat.
Walking thirty to sixty minutes, 5-7 days a week, is the key to a successful walking regimen. Using good form and wearing quality walking shoes can help you avoid injury. Good form consists of walking with your back straight with your foot landing on the heel, rolling over to the toe, and pushing off from the toe. Using good form will help you avoid back strain and shin splints. Maintain a brisk pace of 3 to 4 miles per hour. Keep your stride short, while moving your legs quickly. As far as equipment is concerned, you should purchase shoes designated just for walking. I personally recommend MBT Shoes. They force you to use the correct form, and work other muscles of the lower leg, which gives you a more complete workout.
By choosing to walk, you are taking important steps to safeguard your health.