Get out from behind your desk and go for a walk

I have to admit that I am probably the very last person that should be giving diet and exercise advice. I’ve been battling obesity since my teenage years.  Some years winning, most years not so much.  I’ve tried every diet on the planet, and every exercise routine known to man. The reality is most of them work, at least for a little while. But at some point you feel as if you are a war with your own body. You cut back on calories and for a few weeks you lose some weight. Then your body stabilizes and the same amount of calories does nothing more than keep you at the same weight. Same way with exercise. You increase your caloric expenditures and initially there is a significant boost in your metabolism and you lose some weight. But after a while it seems as if regular exercise does nothing more than to keep you in your regular place. Your body tends to stabilize at its own level of comfort.

So, when I saw this article by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen, I was encouraged. I always knew that walking was good for you. As pointed out in the article walking is very low impact, you probably won’t injure or wear out your joints, and it’s an exercise that can be enjoyed by just about everybody. But the best part is that all of those healthy runners and joggers that scoot past you so quickly have no idea that walking actually delivers MORE benefits than jogging or running.  According to the good Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, there’s a new study that evaluated the health boost to get from equivalent energy expenditures with moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running. In other words, if you run for 15 minutes you expend the same amount of energy as if you walked vigorously for 30 minutes. Walking vigorously is between 3 and 4 mph.  The study showed that:

  • Walking reduced the risk for developing hypertension by 7.2 percent; running, 4.2 percent.
  • Walking slashed the risk for developing high cholesterol by 7 percent; running, 4.3 percent.
  • Walking cut the risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 12.3 percent; running, 12.1 percent.
  • And walking nipped the risk for developing coronary artery disease 9.3 percent, running 4.5 percent.

So, if you’re interested, give this a try:

Weeks 1-2: Walk continuously for 30 minutes (1 mile in 16-18 minutes), three times a week.

Weeks 3-4: Go for 30 minutes (1 mile in 14-15 minutes) five times a week.

Week 5: Increase to 45 minutes almost every day.

Over time, aim for 10,000 steps daily. And if you combine daily walking and 20 minutes of aerobics three times a week, amazing things happen!

OK, that last part was added by Dr. Oz.  I personally have no idea if amazing things will happen, but I’m going to give it a try.  I know that I need to get up, get out, and get healthy and there is no excuse for not taking a daily walk.

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