A brisk walk provides us with the best source of natural energy. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in the body, helping you feel more alert and alive. Regular walking should mean you sleep better too. It also serves to bring stiff joints back to life and ease muscle tension. We can all feel sluggish at times, but you can help break that cycle through walking.
Picture yourself working out. Are you lifting heavy weights? Stretching your muscles? Or maybe you're performing an activity that causes you to sweat and breathe hard that makes your blood pump through your veins as it carries oxygen to your muscles to keep you going. If you're performing this last activity, then you're engaging in aerobic exercise.
Though the risks of being sedentary far outweigh the risks of exercise, one should be prudent when beginning an aerobic exercise program. Safety guidelines from the ACSM state that individuals at low or moderate health risk can begin a moderate-intensity exercise plan without a medical exam or exercise stress test, whereas people at high risk should be evaluated by their doctor. You are at high risk if you have:
You ought to walk as if you’re wearing very long diamond earrings, and you want everybody to be able to see the diamonds, rather than having them sitting on your collar bones. When your head is forward, your shoulder girdle also rolls forward, which gives you an unappealing hunch, but more importantly, encourages the shoulder joint, which is a ball-and-socket joint, to behave like a hinge joint. This makes your arms as good as useless in the business of moving you forward, but also stiffens the shoulders, which makes the spine rigid. The spine should be able to rotate. I don’t know why, but I accept as a general principle that if your skeleton is capable of a range of movements that you never do, that’s a bad thing.
Keep fit, tone-up and lose weight - walking is the perfect way to achieve optimum health, hassle free. Power-walking expert Nina Barough reveals there is a world of difference between a casual stroll and an energising, body-sculpting power walk. Founder of the annual Moonwalk, Nina explains how this low-impact form of exercise can be done by anyone, anywhere at anytime and her total walking programme will help you achieve health, vitality and weight-loss.
Your weight x distance = energy used walking. Time does not matter as much as distance. If you speed up to walking a mile in 13 minutes or less, you will be burning more calories per mile. But for most beginning walkers, it is best to increase the distance before working on speed. A simple rule of thumb is 100 calories per mile for a 180 pound person.
When you are able to get and stay on your target heart rate, you will want to cool down a bit at the end of your walk. If you have been able to stay in the target rate for 20 minutes or so, spend about 5 minutes at the end of the walk trying to bring your heart rate back to where it was pre-walk. Slowing your pace down and doing some more light stretching can accomplish this. Do not stop walking to slow your heart rate in a cool down. It defeats the purpose of a cool down.
Whatever your preferred exercise intensity, it’s also important to choose activities that you enjoy and will stick with over the long term. Walking, biking, hiking, dancing, and gardening are all great forms of aerobic exercise that you can easily integrate into your day. After all, aerobic exercise can greatly improve your health even if you perform it in shorter segments throughout the day.
Only one day – as is not entirely unusual – my bus simply did not come. I waited and I waited, and I waited some more, my blood pressure rising, spitting and swearing and huffing and puffing over the unimaginable injustice of a BUS THAT WOULD NOT COME, alongside gathering hoards of similarly frustrated non-passengers… Then, after 20 minutes, spurred onwards by a desire to demonstrate I simply would not stand for such abysmal service! - I walked.
As you get started toward the recommended 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise five days per week, aim to exercise at a level that just lets you keep up a conversation during the activity. If you can get out three or four sentences in a row without gasping for air, it’s a sign that you’re maintaining an intensity that is truly aerobic, meaning aerobic metabolism is supplying the vast majority of your body’s energy, Jonesco says.
An analysis of studies on walking showed it improves aerobic fitness - which is technically the ability of the heart to get oxygen to our muscles and how effectively our muscles use that oxygen. But to be effective, walking needs to be of at least moderate intensity, which means an intensity where you’re able to notice your breathing but can carry on a conversation without noticeable pauses between words. For many, this is a brisk walk.
Physical activity such as walking, jogging, indoor cycling, or aerobic dancing are all examples of aerobic exercise that strengthen the heart and lungs, therefore improving your body's utilization of oxygen. For general health, aim for a 30-minute workout (or three 10-minute workouts per day) three to five days a week at moderate intensity. Moderate intensity refers to an activity that will increase your breathing and get your heart beating fast. You should be able to talk with ease during moderate intensity workouts, though trying to sing would be more challenging.

“Those who had a faster stepping rate had similar health outcomes—lower BMI and lower waist circumference—as those who took the most steps per day,” says Schuna, one of the study authors. He recommends trying for a minimum of 100 steps per minute (roughly 2.5 to 3 miles per hour) or as brisk a pace as you can (135 steps per minute will get you up to about a 4 mph pace).
Select an activity with a high probability that you will stick with it. It doesn't necessarily have to be fun, it just has to be something realistic that you are willing and able to do. You're probably setting yourself up to fail if you work 12 hours a day, take care of three young children, and still plan to use a treadmill at a gym that's a 45-minute commute from where you work or live. Instead, choose something more convenient. I love the "five minutes out, five minutes back" plan to get started. Just like it sounds, you walk out for five minutes at a moderate intensity (aerobic exercise), turn around, and walk back. That's it. Ten minutes of walking and off you go about your day. If you feel ambitious, start with seven and a half or even 10 minutes out and back, and add some abdominal crunches if you like when you finish. Keep in mind that you can always add more later on. The important thing is to get started.
Whatever makes you feel comfortable is the easy answer. There is no need for fancy spandex or workout clothes, unless that’s what you like. As you start moving farther and faster, you may want to get dedicated fitness walking clothes that wick away sweat or allow you to layer for different weather conditions, but for a beginning fitness walker, comfort trumps everything else.
Aerobic capacity is a measure of the ability to perform oxidative metabolism. Multiple systems are involved, including the pulmonary, cardiac, vascular, and musculoskeletal systems. Patients with MD have lower aerobic capacity, especially those patients with aggressive forms of MD (Sockolov et al., 1977; Edwards, 1980; Haller and Lewis, 1984; Lewis, 1984; Wright et al., 1996). Poor aerobic capacity results in reduced activity levels. Other organ dysfunction, such as decline in pulmonary status and cardiomyopathy, may further contribute to declining levels of aerobic capacity.

If you like gadgets, you'll love using a pedometer. It's smaller than a cell phone, and you wear a pedometer on your belt to record the number of steps you take. Digital pedometers record not only your steps based on your body's movement but will convert those steps to miles. Some even tell the time and estimate the calories you've burned based on your body weight. Less-sophisticated pedometers simply click off the number of steps taken. The point is that you are walking and tracking your distance.
Dr. Tannenberg offers another tip for incorporating intervals into your workout: “Create a new playlist with upbeat songs followed by slower songs. Alternate the songs on your playlist. When you are walking and hear a faster song, you increase your pace. When the slower song comes on, you slow down the pace a bit. This is an easy way to make your normal morning walk an interval workout.” 

“This has all been scientifically proven,” says Hall. “Dr Darren James, research fellow at South Bank University, has done a study showing all this. WalkActive significantly and statistically improves your posture, increases your walking speed by up to 24%, reduces joint impact, joint stress at the knee and at the ankle and improves your body shape.” It is, unmistakably, a fitness programme, as in, you would undertake it for the same reasons as an aerobics class, to lose weight, or at the very least, redistribute it in a more sightly way. I did several 10-minute walks, and while never out of breath, was certainly more tired at the end than I would normally have been.
Walking might not have the same visual appeal as high-intensity interval training or step aerobics, but this simple exercise can be an efficient way to burn calories. Whether you're anxious to shed a few pounds or are just keen to avoid the middle-age spread, walking several times per week (in combination with a healthy diet, of course) can burn thousands of calories to help keep the excess pounds at bay. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen, even a light one.
Fitness trackers and fitness equipment can tally your calories burned while exercising, but they’re not always accurate. “Using a variety of sources and taking a ‘midpoint’ might help keep you honest,” says Hilaton. “I think it is important to keep in mind that all of these estimates of calories burned are just that: estimates. There are a lot of variables that go into the actual number of calories burned by any given individual in any exercise beyond speed and duration.” For a starting point, calculate your numbers with our Calories Burned Running Calculator.
As you get started toward the recommended 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise five days per week, aim to exercise at a level that just lets you keep up a conversation during the activity. If you can get out three or four sentences in a row without gasping for air, it’s a sign that you’re maintaining an intensity that is truly aerobic, meaning aerobic metabolism is supplying the vast majority of your body’s energy, Jonesco says.
At this point, you have to suspend your disbelief and try it. The concentration it requires beggars belief. Hall says at one point, “it’s like patting your head and rubbing your tummy – it takes a lot of brain power”. I didn’t believe her for one second, but of course it was true. Even chatting at the same time as having an active foot was a challenge. Having an active foot and a hip lift was like trying to do a sudoku while listening to Motörhead.
Select an activity with a high probability that you will stick with it. It doesn't necessarily have to be fun, it just has to be something realistic that you are willing and able to do. You're probably setting yourself up to fail if you work 12 hours a day, take care of three young children, and still plan to use a treadmill at a gym that's a 45-minute commute from where you work or live. Instead, choose something more convenient. I love the "five minutes out, five minutes back" plan to get started. Just like it sounds, you walk out for five minutes at a moderate intensity (aerobic exercise), turn around, and walk back. That's it. Ten minutes of walking and off you go about your day. If you feel ambitious, start with seven and a half or even 10 minutes out and back, and add some abdominal crunches if you like when you finish. Keep in mind that you can always add more later on. The important thing is to get started.
I’m thinking your calculator is a bit high, either that or I’m not using it right, so I’d like some advice on how to use it. I entered my gender, age, height and weight, and then I entered 24 hours worth of a particular day’s activities, including sleeping. It calculated 3259.2940 calories. Only 255 calories were for my mild 1-hour gym workout. I’m male, 66, 6’2″, 177lbs. On a 50 carbs, 30 fat, 20 protein, I’d still need over 150 grams of protein/day which my doctor says is too much for a man my age’s kidneys. You didn’t have a “sit relaxed and reclined with a laptop doing different things on the computer” entry where I spend about 8 hours/day so I used “studying” which calculated to 1298 calories. I’m really only mildly active during the day, just a couple of short walks a day and the usual errands and life-maintaining activities. I would think I’m an average 2,000 calorie/day guy. I don’t understand why it’s calculating so high (high in my opinion). Any thoughts? Thanks.
Barough has devised different training programmes for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, for weight loss, and for those with distance goals. I am in training for the Moonwalk marathon this summer (2005), but I started using this book when I was a complete novice and it has held my hand all the way through. I am still referring to it to remind myself of things I have forgotten, for information that is relevant to me now but wasn't when I started, or for the extras I can focus on now that more of my routine has become automatic.
Only one day – as is not entirely unusual – my bus simply did not come. I waited and I waited, and I waited some more, my blood pressure rising, spitting and swearing and huffing and puffing over the unimaginable injustice of a BUS THAT WOULD NOT COME, alongside gathering hoards of similarly frustrated non-passengers… Then, after 20 minutes, spurred onwards by a desire to demonstrate I simply would not stand for such abysmal service! - I walked.
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