Aerobic cardiovascular exercise, like running, is a winner for a lot reasons: It’s an excellent way to lose weight and boost your energy levels. It beats down diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It controls your blood pressure and tackles stress. And done right, it leaves you feeling exhilarated and content! The thing is, running isn’t always the best choice of cardio exercise. Sometimes, walking is even better. Here’s why.
Benefits of walking
Walking doesn’t damage your joints the way running can
Running is a high-impact exercise, and one that puts your body under stress. This means you’re at greater risk of stress- or trauma-related injuries. If you walk, on the other hand, it doesn’t cause the same physical impact to your joints, but it still gives you a great workout.
Walking doesn’t push your heart too far
Running too hard, for too long, can damage your heart. And there’s a lot of science to prove this. If you walk, your heart isn’t taxed as much.
Walking burns fat
When you run, your body needs to burn through the most accessible energy stores, fast. It usually burns carbohydrates first, to get the quick-release energy it needs. When you walk, if you do so at the right intensity and for the right duration, your body will burn through its fat stores. It’s easy to wear ankle or wrist weights and make the walk a little tougher, if needed. This means that, as long as you’re on a healthy, balanced low-carb diet, you can lose weight by walking.
The caveat here is: You really have to exert yourself. A moderate walk around the block won’t activate your body’s fat-burning systems. You need to walk at a brisk pace, for more than 30 minutes (and perhaps throw in an incline or too), to really burn fat.
Walking offers you the same health benefits as running
Walking is a body-weight exercise. This means it will boost your bone density, helping you fend off conditions like osteoporosis, and avoid injuries. It also strengthens muscles and encourages muscle growth (and the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn).
What’s more, walking is excellent for your circulation, improving your wellness by driving fresh oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to your body (and removing toxins too).
Walking has been proven to prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol too.
So what are you waiting for? Invest in a good pair of running shoes, and get walking!
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