Walking is the easiest and safe and most natural form of exercise. Its an effective exercise for people of all ages and all levels of health.
Studies have shown that regular, brisk walking can lower cholesterol levels, stimulate circulation, strengthen the heart, and decrease high blood pressure.
It reduces the risk of developing serious health problems like diabetes, osteoporosis (brittle bones), and heart diseases.
Walking strengthens and tones the lower body especially when done on an inclined surface. It increases one’s endurance particularly if there is progression of difficulty. It also reduces stress and depression and increases the sense of well being.
Walking contributes to effective weight control. Numerous studies show that a person who walks 10,000 steps a day can burn 2,000-3,500 (equivalent to 1 pound of fat) extra calories a week.
For weight loss, it is now recommended to complete 10,000 – 15,000 steps a day.
According to the book “The Fidget Factor” by Frank and Victor Katch, walking on the job for one hour at less than 3.2 kilometers per hour (slow pace) can burn 108 calories for a 110-pound person, 144 calories for a 150-pounder, and 192 calories for a 203-pounder. This is approximately equivalent to 40,000 steps, 3.2 kilometers.
The heavier the person is and the faster he/she walks, the more calories can be burned in one hour. The number of steps completed would depend on one’s stride length.
Lifestyle walking is the most frequently performed type. It is what people do when they get up from bed and move, walk around, or take a stroll in the park.
This kind of walking is low-intensity. It is different from fitness walking that is designed to increase the heart rate and help burn extra calories.
The amount and duration of lifestyle walking that a person does might depend on several factor.
A study by the American Council on Exercise examined on-the-job physical activities of 10 common occupations in the United States, Secretaries were shown to walk only an average of 4,327 steps per day (2.7 km) as compared to mail carriers at 18,904 steps (12 km).
Bases on lifestyle assessment, an average office worker, unaware of lifestyle walking recommendations, can only complete 1,000 – 4,000 steps/day.
If your job requires you to sit for eight hours, try to insert at least 30 minutes of accumulated or continuous walk within duty hours. You can further increase inside the mall or in you village. Purchase a pedometer to monitor your steps.
It is not surprising to find out that some well-off individuals with cars and drivers can just finish up to 1,000 steps/day. The effort to walk more for health has been replaced by confinience. But commuters can have an additional 2,000-5000 steps a day.
For those living in secure villages, try to walk early morning or at night outside your house and try to complete at least 5,000 steps/day.
Asians living in countries like Hong Kong and Singapore are known for their flavorful dishes. They love to eat, yet they do not get fat because they love to walk in a walk-friendly environment.
For office people, you can try to walk your way home.
Now is the time to explore your location and find the safest and most convenient places to walk.
Intention to Lose Weight
Usually, a person who is motivated to lose weight will intentionally increase daily target steps. Daily steps can even be doubled once educated about their effect on faster weight loss. But the amount of additional steps will be based on existing exercise programs and target calories to burn per week.
Identify you goals and set a distance or number of steps per day. An accumulated 5,000 – 8,000 steps during the day is good enough to improve or maintain health.
Its benefits will be more evident if you switch to fitness walking where there is progression in speed, intensity and duration.
You need to walk more to burn more!