‘ I have started working out, I walk for an hour everyday. You know that is the safest form of exercise’. My friend who is in her 30’s told me.
‘Is that enough for you to get fit or lose fat’?I asked .
We are constantly told by medical professionals and also magazines( written by journalists who are not aware of exercise and its science) that walking is the best and safest exercise.
When you invest INR 1000 every month for 10 years and if you get INR 1000 a month ROI for the next 10 years, would you call it a safe investment? Just because it doesn’t have any risk doesn’t mean its the best investment. Also keep in mind the returns. Now compare the same with walking. It doesn’t need extra effort or money, but doesn’t mean it is the best or safest workout.
Walking is an exercise , if you come under the category of people for whom walking is a challenge . For instance, recovering after surgery, very elderly people who are beginners at workout, or if you have never been physically active previously etc.
Walking by itself is an activity and not an exercise.
According to ACE (American Council on Exercise)Physical activity is any movement one does . Exercise is planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement intended to improve or maintain physical fitness.
For walking to be an exercise, you should be running 5 minutes for every one minute of walking or should be walking uphill or trekking.
For someone who is physically fit to do any activity and has a goal of getting fit, a leisurely stroll in the city park ( our parks being so overcrowded , even if you want to jog, you will end up walking slowly :)) or around your apartment or office wont help much. The reason being
– it doesn’t challenge your heart / increase heart rate
– it doesn’t target your core muscles
– it doesn’t improve your flexibility
If you are someone who is on the heavier side or have knee or back pain, walking is going to worsen or put extra pressure on your lower back and knee joints. Instead , focus on improving your flexibility and strengthening your muscles.
If you are someone who try to reach for the number ‘10000’ everyday in your smart watch or fit bit, all that means is your day was active. The magic number of ‘10000’ alone is proved to be a non magic number. That number combined with a moderate to vigorous intense activity such as swimming, rowing, cycling , running, lifting weights etc will help you in burning more fat.
Rather than walking for 1 hour a day, squeeze in small workouts that will improve your flexibility , heart rate and fat burn.
Stay tuned to my posts to know more about such workouts.
What is your favourite workout? Let us know in comments.