Monday, September 3, 2012

So You Started Walking - But Is It Enough?

If you started walking as a way to get exercise, congratulations, you are now part of the 6 in 10 adults in the country who use walking for physical activity.  Not only does walking have proven health benefits, its also something you can easily do with friends and family.
So, go ahead and pat yourself on the back for getting started on a path to fitness.  I'll even drink a toast to you for your efforts...oops... that means calories for me, but what the heck, I'll just go out and burn them off.
OK, now that the celebration is over, time to get back to work.  Just taking basic walks is not good enough in the long run, because you may not be burning off enough calories to reach your weight loss goals.  Truth be known, walking is great exercise, but it has to be done at a rate and frequency that ensures you are burning off the maximum amount of fat that you can.  Of course that doesn't come overnight, but over time you should gradually pick up the pace and make sure you are doing so on a daily basis.
According to the CDC (Centers For Disease Control) the proper amount of physical activity for adults and children looks something like this: 
  • Adults - 2.5 hours per week of physical activity at a moderate rate.  Think "fast-paced walk".
  • Children - 1 hour every day of physical activity at a moderate rate.
In reality, 2.5 hours per week isn't all that much, as you can do 30 minutes everyday for 5 days.  The key is too start out slow and work your way up. 
For example, I now do 5 miles or more of walking just about every day of the week. (I mix it up with 4 to 5 miles of  Standup Paddle Boarding).  My top end speed is 5mph, which is pretty fast in the walking world. BUT I had to work up to all of that over a period of time.
So at the end of the day, be proud that you have taken steps to get moving, but always be sure that those steps really count!


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