For joints to work at their best, you need to keep them moving. Regular walking gives knee joints a workout, increases your muscle strength and can keep your bones strong, giving definition to calves, quads, hamstrings and lifting your glutes. Walking not only stimulates and strengthens bones, increases their density and helps maintain healthy joints, it can also fend off conditions such as arthritis and help prevent or alleviate back pain.
One Stanford University study found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent. Researchers labelled this type of creativity “divergent thinking,” which they define as a thought process used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. According to the study, “walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.”
Researchers at Southern Methodist University took a close look at the most common equations used over the past 40 years. And surprise! They found two major problems: First, the sample sizes that these equations were based off of were way too small (only six people for one method), and only included men. Second, this data didn’t take into account that people of different sizes expend energy at different rates (for instance, heavier people burn fewer cals per pound when walking the same distance as those who weigh less). As a result, when the researchers put these two equations to the test, they found that their calorie estimates were too low in a whopping 97 percent of cases.
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.
For a walking surface grade between -5% to +5% inclusive, this walking calorie burn calculator is based on equations (shown below) derived by ShapeSense.com from experimental data displayed in Figure 3 of the study titled "Energy Cost of Running," by R Margaria, P Cerretelli, P Aghemo, and G Sassi (note that the data on walking energy expenditure was originally printed in the study titled "Sulla fisiologia, e specialmente sul consumo energetico, della marcia e della corsa a varie velocita ed inclinazioni del terreno," by R. Margaria). The experimental data gathered by Margaria measured calorie burn of subjects walking at various speeds and on various surface grades. It was found that there is a non-linear relationship between walking speed and rate of calorie burn, as opposed to calorie burn while running, which displays a linear relationship between speed and rate of calorie burn.
Your morning cup of java could actually aid your weight loss efforts. According to the results of a 1990 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, caffeine consumption can increase calorie burn. A second study, published in a 1994 edition of the International Journal of Obesity, found that the consumption of 200 milligrams of caffeine increased calorie burn by 6.7 percent during a three hour period.
This article provides some general guidelines to help you improve aerobic fitness and gain the many health benefits associated with it. Because everyone has individual health needs and concerns, the fitness suggestions here may not be the best approach for you. The most important thing is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and to stick with it.
Whether you are about to start a walking program or you've been walking regularly, it pays to work on your walking posture and stride to get the most benefits. Beginners should first prepare with a check-up and the right clothes and shoes. Everyone can then benefit from using the best walking technique for posture, arm motion, and stride. Use a schedule to build up your walking time and practice your technique.
Walking also offers plenty of health benefits, including lowering the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes; reducing the risk of developing dementia and cancer and even reducing fibromyalgia pain. Plus, walking may be even more beneficial than running. Walkers have a much lower risk of exercise-related injuries than runners, whose legs absorb about 100 tons of impact force in just one mile. So, if you’re just starting your fitness journey, know that fitness walking is a seriously good place to begin.
If you currently praise coffee for keeping your digestive system going strong, get ready to start thanking your morning walk instead. That's because a regular walking routine can greatly improve gastric mobility, says Tara Alaichamy, DPT, a physical therapist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. "One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilizes core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system," she says. (Check out these 7 things your poop says about your health.)
Walking is a basic movement we use every day, but it can require discipline to walk enough to gain health benefits. It's recommended that you take at least 10,000 steps each day for exercise, which can be easily measured by a pedometer. You can also use fitness watches and smart phone apps. Take time to prepare for your walk, and gradually increase your walking time and difficulty for added benefits.
No study has been more conclusive about the role of lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) in preventing diabetes than the Diabetes Prevention Program. It was a study of more than 3,000 individuals at high risk for diabetes who lost 12-15 pounds and walked 150 minutes per week (five 30-minute walks per day) for three years. They reduced their risk of diabetes by 58%. That's significant considering there are 1 million new cases of diabetes diagnosed each year. Aerobic exercise can also improve insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body doesn't use insulin properly, and this condition can occur in individuals who do and do not have diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that helps the cells in the body convert glucose (sugar) to energy. Many studies have shown the positive effects of exercise on insulin resistance. In one, 28 obese postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes did aerobic exercise for 16 weeks, three times per week, for 45-60 minutes, and their insulin sensitivity improved by 20%.