The technical definition of aerobic exercise is “any form of exercise or activity that uses the aerobic metabolism — meaning oxygen is heavily involved in the cellular reactions that provide the body with the energy necessary to perform activity,” explains Michael Jonesco, DO, an assistant professor of internal and sports medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. “You’re making yourself more efficient at delivering oxygen to the rest of the body.”
According to a study by the Harvard Medical School, walking for just 2.5 hours a week, which is 21 minutes a day can cut the risk of heart disease by 30%. In fact, it even goes on to say that walking regularly could save Americans over 100 billion dollars a year in health care costs. A 2009 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch reported that walking is seriously underrated. Two scientists sifted through 4295 articles published on walking between 1997 and 2007. 18 of these met their high standards for quality. Each of these studies collected information about the participants walking habits and cardiovascular risk factors such as age, smoking and alcohol use. The participants were followed for 11.3 years and during this time their cardiovascular events and deaths were recorded. When scientists compiled this data, they found that walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and cuts the risk of an early death by 32%.
“Cardiovascular health is defined by your capacity to exert yourself,” says Nicole Belkin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center. “Regular physical activity trains the cardiovascular system to expand the level of demand and increase its capacity. This results in increased blood flow and blood volume to the heart.”
Chronic pain has been called a silent epidemic, with an estimated 100 million Americans currently living with it. And if you’re one of those people battling daily pain the last thing you probably want to do is get up and go for a walk. But researchers found that moderate walking improved chronic pain in people, both in the short term and the long run, even if the underlying condition remained uncured. The pain relief benefits of walking may not be able to cure chronic pain, but it can help you deal with it better. Learn the creative way to keep walking when the weather is cold.
You could increase your calorie burn by drizzling some hot sauce on your food. Hot sauce is made from hot peppers, which contain a spice called capsaicin. According to a 2012 study in the journal Chemical Senses, capsaicin increases both calorie burn and fat burn. Use hot sauce to add some flavor to a chicken breast for a healthy dinner, or mix in some hot sauce to spice up your scrambled eggs.
Sometimes there's nothing like a good stretch to relax the mind and body after an aerobic workout. Take five or 10 minutes after aerobic exercise and treat yourself and stretch. If you tend to have tight muscles all the time and stretching at the end doesn't quite do it for you, then try warming up for five minutes to get the muscles filled with blood, stop and stretch, and then continue with your workout. You might really like the feeling.
“You’ll get some health benefits by going out and walking at any pace, any distance, whenever you can catch time away from your work or other duties,” Fenton says. “But all the scientific research proves rather conclusively that you can attain a much higher level of conditioning and well-being if you actually train to improve your aerobic fitness. Every tenth of a liter of aerobic capacity that you can cram into your body by walking farther and faster is going to increase your health and longevity as well.
New research on the endocrine functions of contracting muscles has shown that both aerobic and anaerobic exercise promote the secretion of myokines, with attendant benefits including growth of new tissue, tissue repair, and various anti-inflammatory functions, which in turn reduce the risk of developing various inflammatory diseases. Myokine secretion in turn is dependent on the amount of muscle contracted, and the duration and intensity of contraction. As such, both types of exercise produce endocrine benefits.
Aerobic fitness is a stronger independent predictor of morbidity and mortality compared with physical activity. However, it is difficult sometimes to delineate between the individual effects of aerobic fitness versus total weekly caloric energy expenditure (physical activity). Furthermore, measuring total weekly energy expenditure in both free-living and structured exercise is much more difficult than measuring aerobic fitness.
4. Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, et al. Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007; 39(8):1423-34. Abstract available at: http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/2007/08000/Physical_Activity_and_Public_Health__Updated.27.aspx
To estimate the amount of energy—remember, energy equals calories—the body uses during physical activity (versus when you’re at rest), scientists use a unit that measures the metabolic equivalent for task (MET). One MET is what your body burns while lounging on the couch watching Netflix. Walking, a "moderate" exercise, uses 3 to 6 METs; running, which is typically classified as "vigorous," uses 6 METs or more.
4. Better memory and cognitive function. A clinical trial of older adults in Japan published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in 2015 found that after 12 weeks, men and women in a prescribed daily walking exercise group had significantly greater improvements in memory and executive function (the ability to pay focused attention, to switch among various tasks, and to hold multiple items in working memory) compared with those in a control group who were told just to carry on with their usual daily routine.
Fitness walking is a good way to get in top-notch cardiovascular condition and lose weight. When you fitness walk, you generally move along at a brisk pace of 3.5 to 4.3 miles an hour, covering a mile in a respectable 14 to 17 minutes. Because fitness walking is faster and more intense than lifestyle walking (or casual walking, which is more like a leisurely stroll), you work up a sweat and burn significantly more calories.
Harvard Medical School notes that walking is an ideal form of exercise because of its simplicity. While other exercises can take a period of adjustment that can occasionally be frustrating, walking is a natural movement that doesn't require you to be a finely tuned athlete. The benefits of aerobic exercise, notes the Cleveland Clinic, include more cardiovascular endurance, better lung capacity and a lower risk of heart-related ailments. Exercises such as walking also help you to manage your stress.
Walking doesn't burn calories as quickly as a number of other aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming or riding a bicycle. Walking, however, is a low-impact exercise that is ideal for a wide range of people, including those who contend with joint pain and aren't physically able to perform more up-tempo exercises. If you choose to use walking as your main source of aerobic exercise, set your weekly schedule to allow for a minimum of 2.5 hours of walking.
A pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. To lose one pound a week, you will need to burn about 500 more calories per day than you eat. You can do this by increasing your calorie-burning activity or by eating fewer calories—or both. It is easier to achieve it with combining increased activity and eating less. Exercising enough each day to burn 300 to 400 calories is a good goal for the exercise portion of your weight loss plan.
Mental health got me walking in the first instance. I was in my late twenties, and beginning to understand that the love of my life (London) was also my chief tormentor. The stress of the city and the stress of my job as a journalist, got the better of me and I became claustrophobic, which meant I could no longer stand to travel around London’s endless sprawl by Underground. (I’ve since discovered this is incredibly common in Londoners, and God, how transparent we all are! The thing that ferries us to work, aka ground zero on much of our stress; the thing that speeds relentlessly round our city - its logistical arteries - is also the thing we’re likely to fall apart on, and ultimately: resist and refuse.) So I ditched the tube for the bus.
Your local gym will provide a wide variety of aerobic options, such as treadmills, cross trainers, exercise bikes, stairmasters, rowing and ski machines so that you can just switch on and get started with your workout. It can be a good idea to diversify between different machines and different speeds/levels of resistance as your body can get used to a certain routine and after a number of sessions the same routine will not work your heart and lungs as much as it once did.
Add strengthening exercises to your walking workout to build muscle. Even though strength training does not burn considerable calories, it replaces your fat with lean muscle mass. Your body works harder to sustain your muscle mass, raising your resting metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day. Invest in light hand weights or wrist weights and pump your hands as you walk. Build lower body muscles by lifting your knees high during part of your walk. Stop every five minutes and do a series of squats or lunges.
4: Now to find your true open ankle position. Slowly peel through the back foot until you come to the pivot point between the pad of your foot and your toes. Take a moment to check this position as it will change as your feet become more mobile, strong and fit. Once you have this pivot position hold it there. It’s this position you are trying to achieve with each step as you walk.
The same goes for intensity, too: Hiking or climbing stairs can actually bring your walking METs burn up to running levels. “Greater muscle forces are required to move faster to accelerate the body up and down, move the limbs faster, and work against gravity,” says Hunter. “Running or walking uphill requires a greater energy, just like lifting weights upwards. It’s as if our body is the weight that we must move to greater heights, so the greater the slope, the greater the energy requirement.”
Bone density may not be one of the most exciting health benefits of walking, but it’s an important one. People with stronger bones avoid osteoporosis and all the problems that come with it like fractures, disability, and spine shrinkage (seriously, you can get shorter). And the best way to get strong, healthy bones is by doing weight-bearing exercises like running, dancing and, yes, walking, according to a large study done by Oxford. But when it comes to bones, it’s definitely use it or lose it: To keep your bones strong you have to keep exercising. The researchers found that adults who walked regularly had better bone density throughout their lives than their inactive friends. Find out which common walking mistake causes 11,000 injuries every year.
The third thing I noticed, was how walking reaffirmed my love for where I loved. When you wander daily around your locale, you start to look at it properly; when you do that, you notice how devastatingly beautiful it is. How weird, how sweet, how contrary, how chic. I saw hidden architectural loveliness and hilarious graffiti; outrageously stylish tiling on the exterior of ancient pubs, unutterably picturesque, Dickensian cut-throughs and alleyways. I saw more of the sky, more often, than I’d ever seen before.