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Why You Should Walk, Not Run, For Weight Loss And Better Health

Why You Should Walk, Not Run, For Weight Loss And Better Health

Are you a busy individual who wants to live healthier and look better? If so, ditch the lousy excuses and start a walking program immediately! Walking isn’t just for getting around – it can also be a highly effective way to keep you in good shape! Here are some excellent reasons why you should walk, NOT run, for weight loss and better health.

Walking is the Better Choice

Inactivity leads to obesity and poor health. Get up and walk around your neighborhood, church parking lot, school track, shopping mall, or favorite walking path. Simply stand up and put one foot in front of the other. Routine, vigorous walking can eventually create a substantial improvement in your quality of life. Here’s a list of key benefits of walking:

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  • You do not need to join a gym.
  • No special equipment is needed.
  • Gives you more energy and vigor.
  • Lowers your blood pressure.
  • Improves your mood and self-esteem.
  • Helps reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Wards off Type 2 diabetes.
  • Protects against falling and bone fractures.
  • Reduces the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Helps you sleep better and have a positive outlook.
  • Provides relief from joint swelling and pain from arthritis.
  • Supports strong bones, lean muscle tissue, and joint health.
  • Minimizes stress and thereby decreases the risk of heart disease.
  • Decreases your bad cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
  • Raises your good cholesterol – high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
  • Burns calories for weight loss and weight management.
  • Lowers the risk malignant tumors such as breast cancer and colon cancer.

Why You Should WALK and NOT Run

Thomas Jefferson declared walking to be the best exercise. Research in the American Heart Association’s Journal of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology compared data from two studies and observed that for the same amount of energy expended, walkers received greater weight loss and health benefits than runners. Walking reduced the risk of heart disease by 9.3%, while running reduced it by 4.5%. Walking had a more potent effect on heart disease risk factors from a caloric perspective.

Here are some benefits of walking over running:

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  1. Walking results in fewer injuries than running.
  2. Walkers can usually walk in whatever apparel they are wearing with a quick change into a pair of comfortable shoes.
  3. Walkers impact the ground at 1.5 times their body weight with each step; runners impact the ground at 3 times their body weight.
  4. Walking works your bones and muscles against gravity, inhibiting bone loss and prolonged maladies.
  5. Walking stimulates your brain and enhances your attention and working memory, particularly if you do a nature walk.
  6. Walkers perspire and sweat less than runners do, making it possible for them to exercise without requiring a shower immediately after.
  7. Walkers, unlike runners, can decrease their pace to enjoy their surroundings, check out an unusual sight, or grab a snack from a shop or fruit tree.
  8. Walking is enjoyable at all ages; high-impact exercise is typically more challenging in later years.

Start Walking for Better Health

Set up your walking program to get approximately 30 minutes of brisk walking on most, if not all, days of the week. For maximum effectiveness, set a goal to walk at a moderate pace (3 to 6 miles per hour) for two miles on 5 or 6 days of the week. These recommendations will help you start your walking routine and sustain it with minimal aches and discomforts.

  • Select walking shoes that support your arch and slightly elevate your heel with thick soles that can absorb shock.
  • Should you decide to purchase exercise gear, choose moisture-wicking fabrics that draw sweat and perspiration off of the skin.
  • Choose apparel that prevents inner-thigh rubbing.
  • Set walking goals and establish milestones for rewards; monitor your progress with a walking journal.
  • Walk almost anywhere and at any time. If you’re having inclement weather, walk somewhere indoors such as a mall.
  • In lieu of stretching cold muscles, warm up by walking slowly for five minutes, and then begin your brisk walking. Slow down your last five minutes in order to cool down. Be sure to do gentle stretches after your cool down.
  • Start slowly and gradually increase your steps to avoid sore muscles and joints. Begin to walk farther and for longer periods of time as you develop strength and endurance.
  • Start out by walking 5 or 10 minutes a day, working up to at least 30 minutes for all-inclusive cardiovascular benefits. Feel free to divide your 30 minute walk into shorter sessions if you need to.
  • If you already do 30 minutes of moderate, physical activity each day, start doing more. Extend your workout time by using the stairs instead of the elevator; get off the bus a few stops early; park your car at the farthest end of the parking lot.
  • Do a strength building exercise routine at least twice a week. Consider using light hand weights to help build your upper body.
  • Infuse power walking into your program; utilize it as your main workout activity, or use it along with another sequence to mix things up a bit.
  • Make walking fun; bring a friend or pet along with you and choose a safe location that you enjoy.
  • Join a walking club. Recruit teammates or family members for an after-dinner walk – be certain they are able to walk at your pace and distance.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of water; wear sunscreen when appropriate.

Keep in mind that a brisk walk is a great low-impact workout technique to obtain and sustain great health. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to exercise, and it’s a smart way to keep your weight under control. Scientific studies continue to prove that walking is more beneficial to the body overall than running.

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Disclaimer: The text and links to content furnished herein are produced for informational purposes only. They’re not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance upon any information provided in this article is at your own discretion.

Featured photo credit: Cabarita Ocean Health Retreat via cabaritaoceanhealthretreat.com.au

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Published on November 21, 2019

7 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout

7 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout

Maybe you like going on walks in your neighborhood or hiking in the park, taking in the sights and sounds of nature. Or, perhaps you like to push yourself with spin classes and work up a real sweat. It could be that basketball at a local recreation league is your thing. And even though you enjoy these activities and you like the way you feel when you are doing them, somehow lately, you haven’t been able to muster up the energy to participate.

There’s a “catch-22” that often happens when you’re wanting to work out, but you are not in the mood. Working out will boost your mood[1] and make you feel better, but because of your current mood, you don’t want to work out. Does this conundrum sound familiar?

Anyone can get stuck in this rut from time to time. It could be that work has been taking too much out of you, or your family and personal commitments are eating up a lot of your time and energy. You’ve got to find a way to break out of this cycle. Getting your groove back requires finding a way to getting back to working out; you need a way to get started again.

How can you get started? Use one of the following hacks to get you back on track. Find one or two of the ideas on this list that speak to you and that you think you can easily implement. Once you get your workout mojo back, you’ll be surprised at not only how much better you can feel in a short amount of time, but how much better everything will seem.

Here are 7 ways to motivate yourself to work out:

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1. Don’t Get Sucked into the Black Hole of the Couch

As soon as you come in the door from work, get your workout clothes on and hit the door. If you sit down on the comfy sofa, it will take more fortitude to get yourself going. Think of your sofa as quicksand and don’t get pulled into the trap.

It’s a simple law of physics — Newton’s first law:[2] an object at rest tends to stay at rest; an object in motion tends to stay in motion. You can come nestle into the comfy couch after your workout. But first, while you’re in motion from your day, stay in motion and your get your workout in.

2. Find an Accountability Partner

Studies show that having an accountability partner greatly increases your exercise frequency and success.[3] Talk to some of your friends and find someone who is interested in your same schedule. Maybe you have a friend who would love to hike early morning before work, or maybe you know someone that would like to hit a dance class right after work ends. Knowing that you have to meet someone else will make you think twice about blowing off your workout.

You don’t have to have all your workouts include your partner, but even if you meet this person once a week, that will give you a boost to want to keep your workout going on other days. If you really feel that you need an accountability partner all the time, then find 2-3 people and meet them 2-3 times a week.

One caveat: if your accountability partner cancels on you, be prepared for that and keep to your schedule. Everyone has things come up every now and then, but if you find your partner is frequently trying to cancel or reschedule, you probably need to find a new partner.

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3. Or, Make Yourself an Accountability Partner

Commit to 30 days of an exercise plan. Look at your calendar and plan out which days and times you are going to work out, including what that workout will be. Allow yourself two “do-overs” for random life events or illness, but only two.

For example, let’s say you have on your calendar that you are going to go to a spin class after work on a Tuesday, but a family member calls whose car broke down and you have to go assist. You will rearrange that date of your spin class and find a different date to put it on the calendar, but you only want to do that for necessary external life events. Hitting the snooze button because you woke up too tired isn’t a good excuse.

If you can stick to 30 days of this plan, it should feel more like a habit and be simpler going forward as you reap the benefits of feeling better, mood boost, and more energy.

4. Integrate Some Mini-Movement into Your Day

If you go into work and sit at a desk most of the day, it will feel good to get out and move your muscles afterwards. But sometimes it seems difficult to get out of that sedentary rut. One solution is staying in touch with your body all throughout the day.

Set a few timers on your phone during the day, and when they go off, take a few minutes to do different physical movements. Stretching, doing forward bends or side bends are some ideas. You can stand against the wall and “peel” off of it, feeling each vertebra and releasing your lower back.Take off your shoes and wiggle your toes around. Do calf raises, standing up and lifting your heels up and down.

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These small movements done 2-3 times throughout your workday may seem insignificant, but they will keep your attuned to your physical self a bit more, so that you will be more motivated to have some bigger, longer, “real” workout sessions. Think of them as appetizers and your workout is the big meal.

5. Eat Something Fresh

Speaking of big meal, what we eat and drink is related to how we feel. So if you’re not eating particularly well these days, commit to at least eating one fresh item daily. Maybe you have an apple as an afternoon snack. Perhaps you fix a nice salad to go along with your dinner.

Sometimes, we’re so busy on the run that we don’t realize we’ve not been eating as fresh as we’d like. By making the conscious choice to seek out some fresh food, you’re taking care of yourself which in turn will make you think about those same kinds of choices when it comes to exercise. Another benefit is that if you’re eating well, you may feel “lighter” and have more energy to work out.

6. Create an Alter Ego

It may sound kind of crazy at first, but employing the use of an alter ego can be a great way to break out of a habit or create some life changes you desire. In his book The Alter Ego Effect, Todd Herman illustrates how an Alter Ego is a mental trick to improve your life. Many famous entertainers have used alter egos to overcome stage fright.

How could this work for you? You may be too tired to work out at the end of the day, but your alter ego isn’t. Let’s say you create a character named “Ironman.” Sure, when you come in from a long day at work, you can talk yourself into wanting to relax on the couch. But Ironman doesn’t feel that way — he’s ready to throw on his sneakers and go for a run!

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7. Water, Water Everywhere

Sometimes the simplest rules are the most important. We all know we are supposed to be hydrated throughout the day. But if you’re busy all day at work, and you’ve nursed a big tumbler of coffee all morning, suddenly it might be early afternoon and you realize you haven’t had any water today.

Drinking water boosts mood and decreases fatigue.[4] These two factors will help you in your quest to find the motivation for your workout.

Make sure you’re getting your water intake all throughout the day, and if you’ve had coffee, drink some extra water to counteract the dehydrating effect of it.

Final Thoughts

So, how are you planning to get going this week? Go pour yourself a big glass of water, get out your calendar, and think about what types of workouts you want to do.

Whether you call a friend and ask him/her to be an accountability partner, or whether you sketch out an alter ego for yourself so you can harness your power, you can use a hack to get you back on the track of being motivated to work out.

You know how good you feel when you do, so give yourself that gift. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow — go get your sneakers on!

Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com

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