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.
Scientists have recently become interested in the effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive function. It has been shown in rats that use of a running wheel every day stimulates new brain cells to grow in as few as 12 days. Brain cells in humans can't be studied directly, but what has been shown is that rates of dementia and Alzheimer's disease are lower in older individuals who exercise three or more times per week compared with older adults who exercise fewer than three times per week. In some cases, the risk is 62% lower. Evidence is also accumulating that active individuals perform better on cognitive function tests such as tests of memory and spatial relations than sedentary individuals.
Walking helps you get fitter and means your body gets better at using oxygen, so you find it easier to be more active and tire less quickly. Getting active releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins into the bloodstream, and getting that natural high reduces stress and anxiety and ultimately helps to build self-esteem. That’s got to be a good thing!
Colon cancer. Research is clear that physically active men and women have about a 30%-40% reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer compared with inactive individuals. It appears that 30-60 minutes per day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity is needed to decrease the risk, and there is a dose-response relationship, which means that the risk declines the more active you are. Breast cancer. There is reasonably clear evidence that physically active women have a greater reduction in risk compared with inactive women. Like colon cancer, it appears that 75 to 150 minutes per day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity is needed to decrease the risk, and it is likely that there is a dose-response relationship as well. Prostate cancer. Research is inconsistent regarding whether physical activity plays any role in the prevention of this cancer. Lung cancer. There are relatively few studies on physical activity and lung cancer prevention. The available data suggest that physically active individuals have a lower risk of lung cancer; however, it is difficult to completely account for the risks of active and passive cigarette smoking as well as radon exposure. Other cancers. There is little information on the role of physical activity in preventing other cancers.
Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training.
The list of studies that show that aerobic exercise prevents or reduces the occurrence of cardiovascular disease is so long that it would take this entire article and probably five others just like it to review all of the research. One of the most important is one of the earliest. In a study of more than 13,000 men and women, it was shown that the least fit individuals had much higher rates of cardiovascular disease than fit individuals -- in some cases, the risk was twice as high. Aerobic exercise works in many ways to prevent heart disease; two of the most important are by reducing blood pressure and allowing blood vessels to be more compliant (more compliant means that they become less stiff and it's less likely for fat to accumulate and clog up the vessels). Results like these have been proven over and over again.
Inevitably, this made me a little smug; equally inevitably, it made me tell anyone who’d listen that they, too, should do this amazing thing I was doing. Walking is the only thing I ever evangelise about, because, unlike everything else that makes me feel good (meditation, Jaffa cakes, the fantasy fiction genre, the TV show River and buying a good Flat White) walking is the one thing I truly believe will work for everyone. Anyone who can walk, should walk.
Wear comfortable shoes. One sure way to lose interest in your walking workout is having sore feet. Take some time to get the right shoes. Your walking shoes need to fit your foot and the type of arch you have. Remember that your feet change over time. As you get older you may need more padding, more support, and more room, so have your feet measured regularly. It’s best to get your feet measured at the end of the day when your feet are larger; try on shoes with the socks you would wear for walking; and walk around for a while in the store before you buy.
When it comes to walking, the question shouldn’t be “Why?” but “Why not?” Regardless of your starting point, you can be reasonably certain that a walking regimen is safe and effective. If you have a known cardiovascular, metabolic, or pulmonary condition, always consult with your doctor to get clearance before starting. However, it is most likely that your doctor will applaud and support your decision to add walking to your routine.
Utilize the Incline Feature: “Treadmills have a variety of uses and one of them that many people don't take advantage of is the incline feature. Walking or running on a treadmill is meant to simulate how you walk or run outside. The incline feature turns what could be compared to walking or running on a sidewalk, into a motion more similar to walking up a mountain,” says Crockett. “Adjusting the incline on a treadmill has several benefits. Your workout intensifies because you're placing more demand on the body to keep up with the machine. The higher you set the incline, the more energy your body is forced to use to help activate your glutes, quadriceps and calves, all of which have to put in overtime when the incline is increased. This increase of energy burns more calories and depending on your weight and cardiovascular endurance can also burn more fat.”
Aerobic exercise is believed by many scientists to be the single best predictor of weight maintenance. You can lose weight without exercise by reducing your caloric intake enough so that you burn more calories than you consume, but it takes a regular dose of exercise to keep your weight off. How much is not clear, but somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes of vigorous exercise several times per week, to 45 to 75 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five or more days per week is probably about right. Your mileage will vary, and so once you get to the weight that you want to be at you'll need to experiment with different amounts of exercise until you find the one that works for you. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that overweight and obese individuals progressively increase to a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week, but for long-term weight loss, overweight and obese adults should eventually progress to 200 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. These are general guidelines, and so again, you need to experiment to see what works for you.
You can get more specific with your aerobic interval training and use heart rate since it's an excellent indication of how hard you are working. Let's use jogging on a treadmill as the aerobic activity in this example. For example, if your heart rate is at 70% of your predicted maximum when you jog at 6 mph, then start at that speed and either increase the speed or elevation so that your heart rate increases to 85% or even 90% for one minute, then back to your usual jogging speed for three minutes to elicit a heart rate of 70%. Start with a 1:3 work:active-rest ratio. That's a good starting point, and as you increase the work intervals and decrease the active-rest ratios like in the examples above, you'll notice that your conditioning improves so that your heart rate will be lower at the higher speeds.
Español: empezar a caminar para ejercitarse, Português: Começar a Caminhar para Se Exercitar, Italiano: Iniziare a Camminare come Allenamento, Русский: заняться тренировочной ходьбой, Deutsch: Eine Laufroutine aufbauen, Français: commencer à pratiquer la marche sportive, Bahasa Indonesia: Memulai Olahraga Jalan Kaki, Nederlands: Meer bewegen door te gaan wandelen, العربية: البدء بالمشي كتمرين رياضي
There is also an ever increasing array of affordable home fitness products available, such as steps, skipping ropes (remember to put your breakables a safe distance away), rebounders (rebounding is considered by NASA to be the “most efficient and effective exercise yet devised by man”), dance mats that you can use with your games console and exercise videos so that you can workout with your favourite celebrity.
If you are new to walking, you cannot walk for long distances immediately. So, break up your walking routine. Start by walking 10 minutes every day. Gradually increase this duration to 30 minutes a day. Then, you can walk 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. You should also gradually increase the pace of your walking. When you are comfortable enough, you can try to walk 10,000 steps a day. Take necessary breaks in between. And, of course, keep yourself hydrated.