Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. Walk Your Way to Health

    In many ways, walking does not get the kudos it deserves in the realm of fitness and health. But, if you think about walking as an exercise, it really has a lot going for it. Walking is easy on the joints, can be fun either alone or with others, doesn’t require fancy gear or equipment, can be performed indoors or out, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and sizes. 

    While running may seem more time-efficient at first glance, consider the time it takes to change clothes, to warm up and cool down, and, maybe even, shower after a run. Now walking seems to make better sense time-wise. Plus, you can do all of your walking at once or you can break it up into chunks of five, 10, or 15-minute intervals throughout the day.

    How Much Walking?

    You might wonder, how much walking do you need to do? The current American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine standards call for all adults to do moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes on five days each week or intense aerobic exercise (such as running) for at least 20 minutes three days each week.

    The University College of London performed a comprehensive (or meta-) analysis of all the walking studies published over almost 40 years. The analysis included approximately 460,000 men and women. What they found makes a striking case for regular walking. In all, walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31%, and cut the risk of dying during the study period by 32%. 

    How much walking did it take to see a protective affect? It took just 5½ miles per week, at a pace of only about 2 miles per hour. The people who walked longer distances, walked at a faster pace, or both experienced a greater protective effect.

    Other Health Benefits

    How does walking help the body? Just like other forms of regular moderate exercise, walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, mental stress, vascular stiffness and inflammation. Additionally – according to research, walking and other moderate exercise programs help protect against dementia, obesity, diabetes, depression, and colon cancer.

    Try these tips to increase your steps each day:

    Walk to work or the store if you can. If it’s too far, walk to a train or bus. You’ll save gas money and burn extra calories!
    Go for a “walking meeting” instead of meeting at a co-worker’s office.
    Take a 10-minute walk after lunch – this will re-energize you for afternoon tasks!

    Walk around the field or rink while watching your kids’ sports practice.
    Make a date with a friend or neighbor to walk – accountability matters.

    Invest in a FitBit or pedometer –tracking your steps motivates you.

    Calories Burned

    So, how many calories can I expect to burn? As with aerobic exercise, the calories you burn depend on your size. Heavier people get more benefits per mile:

    Whether you are an avid exerciser already, or just starting out, adding extra steps to your daily routine can benefit your physical and mental health. Start walking your way to health today and be sure to log your exercise in Diet-to-Go's Exercise Tracker.



    Author: Kristen Ciuba
    Kristen is a Nutritionist at Diet-to-Go, based in Lorton, VA. She tries to “practice what she preaches” by fitting in healthy foods and cooking, challenging exercise, and quality time with family and friends every day!  


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