Article By Ian Nagy
Is Walking Good Exercise?
In this day and age of pills and gimmicks, what if I told you that there was something you could do that would dramatically reduce your chances of dying from a chronic disease, improve your cardiovascular health, and help you lose a bunch of weight?
Well, put away your credit card, because it’s not a pill, bizarre exercise device, or even an e-book. In fact, it’s not even for sale.
What could deliver all of these benefits?
It’s simple: walking.
Can Walking Help Prevent Disease?
Researchers studying the relationship between physical activity and mortality discovered an interesting connection: The more time a person spends sitting, the more likely they are to die of a chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. (Sitting Time and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer – The American College of Sports Medicine – May 2009)
What was really interesting about this study was that sitting time was related to a higher chronic disease death rate, REGARDLESS of the person’s exercise habits.
So, even if you work out intensely 5 times per week, if you spend most of your non-exercising time sitting, you are still at a higher risk for death due to chronic disease.
Walking vs. High Intensity Exercise for Cardiovascular Health
While no one will deny the benefits of intense exercise, it does not offer the same cardiovascular health benefits as merely going for a walk.
In one study, researchers found that just 30 minutes of walking per day reduced inflammation (leads to artery hardening) and hemostasis (weak, slow blood flow). (Walking, Vigorous Physical Activity, and Markers of Hemostasis and Inflammation in Healthy Men and Women – Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports – December 2008)
Intense exercise, on the other hand, was only found to reduce hemostasis.
Walking Your Way Thin – Walking For Fat Loss
So, as we can see above, walking is a necessity to keeping healthy and avoiding disease.
But what about losing weight?
A Simple Solution to Fat Loss – Eat Less, Move More
Can just eating a little less and doing more activity lead to serious weight loss?
Let’s look at our famous friend, Jared Fogle, who I’m sure you have seen on those Subway commercials.
His approach to losing weight was simple: He ate less every day, simply having a 6″ turkey sub for lunch, and 12″ veggie sub for dinner.
Jared increased his activity by walking 1.5 miles per day from home to work instead of taking the bus.
What were his results?
After one year of doing this regimen every day, Jared lost an amazing 245 pounds, going from 425 to 180 lbs!
Pretty simple, right?
- Walk to prevent chronic disease- take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from your office, go for a walk instead of sitting at your desk during lunch.
- If you are already active, take advantage of walking’s anti-inflammatory abilities by adding periods of walking throughout the week.
- Walk to lose weight – Eat less, and walk more! Be consistent – do this every day and you will lose A LOT of weight of the course of a year. (I would also add in a couple 15 minute sessions of resistance training, such as pushups, pullups, and squats, to help build lean muscle mass while you are losing fat)
So, to answer the question, “Is walking good exercise?” I would say, enthusiastically, YES!
See how I have successfully lost 30 pounds of fat, built strength and muscle, and overcome chronic injuries all at home.
Take care and good luck!