Walk Your Way Slim
Do you want to lose some weight and lower your cholesterol? Then step this way to better health and well-being
Whether you’re on a get-fit mission or just wanting to maintain good health through regular exercise, walking is a great option that couldn’t be easier to embrace. More than a dawdle, but not quite a jog, a good brisk walk can do wonders for our mental as well as physical health. Plus, you don’t need a gym membership for a great “walkout”!
Walking is great for circulation as it helps to oxygenate our blood and boosts blood flow by enlarging blood vessels. It also helps to prevent deep vein thrombosis by using the deeper calf muscle, which assists blood flow back to the heart.
Breathing is easier
Walking increases your breathing rate and strengthens your respiratory muscles. “Walking is beneficial for those with asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) as long as you walk indoors on high pollution days,” says exercise physiologist Sonia Glanville.
Heart becomes healthier
Walking is one of the easiest ways to protect your heart. Studies have found that brisk walking is as good as running for lowering risks of cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes – the three key factors leading to heart disease.
Creativity gets a boost
There’s a reason some companies hold walk ’n’ talk meetings. Researchers in the US examined the creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat down and found that the walkers increased creative output by about 60 per cent. The results were the same whether the participants walked indoors on a treadmill or outdoors in nature.
Walking briskly is a well-being staple, but there can be some confusion around what qualifies as “brisk”. Previous guidelines have said a brisk walk should increase our heart rate to around 70 per cent of its maximum, or a pace at which you can talk but not sing – though both definitions are hard to measure. Thankfully a review of 38 recent, high quality studies has a new definition: A brisk walk requires around 100 steps per minute. Study author Catherine Tudor-Locke from the University of Massachusetts says this is a pace that “will probably not feel strenuous to most healthy people”. Simply count how many steps you take in 10 seconds and multiply by six or count how many steps you take in a single minute and skip the math altogether.