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Walking is the Best Exercise

Man was created by God, to walk and fellowship with him in the garden on Eden. No where in the the bible does it say that man ran around after God.

OK, maybe that’s a bit of a long shot, but seriously, scientists have known for a while that by merely walking, you can improved the state of your heart, by leaps and bounds. Walking for a couple of hours a day, can massively decrease the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Some experts believe that only strenuous activity has any beneficial effect. But a study of obese adults found moderate exercise was enough to raise the heart beat to recommended levels.

The researchers, from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, reported their findings at a meeting of the American Heart Association. Advisory groups recommend that exercise must push the heart rate up to at least 55% of its maximum to have any positive impact. Many believe that vigorous exercise is the only way to do this – but the latest study suggests this is not necessarily true. You really can get your heart rate up to the level that your doctor would recommend, and you don’t have to jog or run to do it. Rather than the old adage that there is “no pain, no gain”, they believe that “if the pace feels right, it probably is”.

Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. Walking is a form of exercise accessible to just about everybody. It’s safe, simple and doesn’t require practice. And the health benefits are many. Here’s more about why walking is good for you, and how to get started with a walking program.

Benefits of walking

Walking, like other exercise, can help you achieve a number of important health benefits. Walking can help you:

  • Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
  • Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
  • Manage your weight
  • Improve your mood
  • Stay strong and fit

Treadmill tests

Researchers studied 84 obese adults who were seeking professional advice on a safe level of exercise. At the first visit, researchers measured heart rate and oxygen use, while the subjects walked on a treadmill with a gradually increasing steepness until they felt tired. On a different day, the subjects walked one mile on the treadmill with instructions to maintain a “brisk but comfortable” pace.

Participants completed the walk in an average of 18.7 minutes, at an average speed of 3.2 miles per hour. During the self-paced walk, all the participants achieved the recommended levels of exercise intensity, based on their previous heart rate measures.

Thirteen were at moderate intensity (55-69% of maximum heart rate), 58 at hard intensity (70-89%) and 13 at very hard intensity (90-100%). Comparison with the treadmill tests showed that when participants self-selected a speed that was comfortable but brisk, their heart rate and level of exertion was in a safe range but high enough to improve their cardiovascular fitness. You really can get your heart rate up to the level that your doctor would recommend, and you don’t have to jog or run to do it.


So what’s the moral of this story?

Move a little more. It doesn’t have to be high-impact, and it needn’t get in the way of your lifestyle. The average person manages less than 5,000 steps a day but ideally, they should be doing over 10,000!  So get off you ass and walk a little, and you’ll do your body the world of good.

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