People are not able to run at high speed for the longest time, jump too high or pick up heavy weight. However, the human skeleton and muscular system is perfect to have long walks. Bipedalism was the main reason for human survival, and later this fact was used by the 10,000-step myth creator. But how much a day do we really need to walk to maintain our health, lose weight and not harm our body? Read about the healthy walking features in this article.
Benefits of Walking
Walking at medium speed is a light aerobic exercise which is less active than swimming, running or cycling. It strengthens and stimulates our heart, increases blood flow in our legs that limits the risks of thrombosis, fluid retention and varicose veins development. At the same time, our body gets the following positive effects with regular walks:
- slow weight loss without any stress for the body;
- return to a normal sleep-wake schedule;(Check also Eat Sleep Burn method)
- gastrointestinal tract stimulation;
- riddance of blood pressure surges;
- endorphins production;
- recovery from stress and frazzle;
- control over joint diseases.
Walking does not need any special equipment or extra charges and has no age restrictions. It is especially healthy for the elderly people and pregnant women, since any serious activities are counter-indicative for them. Walking helps keep the body in good shape. It does not matter how much you walk a day, the most important is to feel a little bit tired. It indicates a healthy, moderate load on the body, which means that sleep will be good and relaxing.
Walking will be healthy and enjoyable for you, if you take into account the following recommendations:
- Keep you back straight. Up-right posture while walking forms the core muscles and has an effect on the vascular system. The hunch posture puts pressure on your internal organs.
- Breathe only through your nose. Sometimes, with heavy loads (while climbing a slope), you can exhale through your mouth. It is necessary to control your breathing: it should be active, but not irregular. As a result, your body can get more oxygen, which increases the blood flow and cell nutrition. Inhale through the mouth makes it easy for infections to enter your respiratory tract, it cools the tract and exposes it to stress.
- Dress appropriately. Rain is a good reason to put on the waterproof shoes. When it is snowy and frosty, you should better wear warm clothes, but on a sunny hot day – white umbrella, sunscreen and breathable fabrics. It is important not to break the regularity of walks because of externals.
Make a play-list with enjoyable and bouncy music. It will entertain you and help keep the pace.
Types of Walking
Even an ordinary walk have a positive effect on you, but besides it there are the following types of walking:
- Nordic walking (using walking poles. About 90% of the body muscles are engaged);
- Terrainkur (over natural terrain with hills and at different speeds);
- Racewalking (speed is at least 4 mph and no more than 10 mph).
The above-listed types are of high intensity. Before starting training, people who have any locomotory, respiratory system diseases or vegetative vascular dystonia should consult a doctor.
How to Choose Shoes and Walking Routes
Walking can become healthier, if it is on a regular basis. First of all, you should get used to it. Before you start calculating how much you should walk a day, start walking wherever it is possible. The best shoes are sports shoes or daps. However, not all shoes are perfect for it:
- jogging shoes have good ventilation and shock absorption, but they are appropriate only for level roads;
- football/basketball shoes have a spiked sole designed for running on smooth gym floors or slippery grass;
- hiking boots are excellent for long walks over the natural terrain (dirt trails, forests, meadows, mountainous slopes) due to their ankle protection and high wearing quality.
It is better to choose walking routes in advance. For example, try to plan a half an hour walk in a park or stadium for every day, and go to the forest, landscape garden or next city on the weekends. The conscious choice of new routes can make your life more interesting, make it more joyful to do the physical activity and allow you to learn more about your neighborhood.
How to Walk in Order to Lose Weight
If you want to get rid of extra pounds with regular walks and a balanced diet, then it is the best solution. But sometimes you can lose weight so slow that it remains invisible. So you wonder how many miles a day you should walk to lose weight.
If you are thinking about following the 10,000-step rule, then it is not reasonable. It is just a marketing ploy by a young Japanese doctor, Yoshiro Hatano. He claimed that if you double even the lightest load on your body, you will manage to lose weight. 10,000 steps a day absorbs 500 kcal, which is a quarter of a daily balanced diet.
Shortly before the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Yoshiro invited his compatriots to acquire special devices (prototypes of the modern pedometer) to make the count of steps easier. Of course, the close major sport event made the proposed product especially relevant, so the Japanese idea quickly became popular in Europe.
To walk 10,000 steps at a time is a serious load that can lead to a strong fatigue, up to a feeling of weakness, especially if a person is untrained.
Moreover, speed is more important than the number of steps, and the speed is individual for each. It is necessary to keep your heart rate within the fat-burning level. You can calculate it using the following formula: 220 – age = medium acceptable heart rate value.
But when walking, you should keep it within 65-75% of the calculated value. For a person aged 45, the maximum acceptable rate is 175 heart beats per minute, and the healthy rate is from 114 to 130. That is why if you want to lose weight, you should buy a heart rate monitor to control the heart rate and increase or slow down the walking speed.
It is necessary to remember that the fat burning starts only after 20 minutes of such an activity, so the walk should last at least an hour. Only if you meet the above-listed conditions, you can achieve your goal of losing weight.
Walking is a great way to train your body nicely and safely. You can increase muscle tone and endurance, return to a normal sleep-wake schedule and settle your nervous system. But in order to lose weight, you should count not a number of the traveled miles, but monitor the speed and duration of the walking.