by Piper Zoe

There’s no doubt about it, walking is good for you. Walking burns calories, increases energy and can help aid in weight lose. Studies have shown that walkers travelling faster than five miles an hour actually burn twice as many calories as runners going the same speed.

Walking, like any exercise is good for your heart, lungs, maintaining muscle mass and for an overall feeling of well being. Walking also alters fat metabolism so that fat is burned up instead of sugars, as the fat is burned off, you loose inches and pounds.

A brisk 30-minute walk burns about 200 calories. Walking slowly for 30 minutes uses 100 calories. Many might be thinking they don’t have time to walk 30 minutes a day, but you can easily add 30 minutes of walking daily by making a few minor changes, such as parking farther from work or from a store, then walking the extra distance

Exercise, including walking, decreases depression and anxiety. It can also help to improve sleep. For so many reasons walking is a great way to start an exercise program or to increase your regular routine. It's easy, it's cheap, it's gentle on the body, and it's good for people of all ages and for almost any fitness level.

Yet many of us pass up opportunities to walk each and every day. We drive to nearby places or use escalators and elevators, and other modern conveniences that have engineered walking out of our lives.

As long as there are no medical conditions that contraindicate walking (such as predisposition to falls or advanced degenerative joint disease), walking is an excellent, inexpensive form of exercise.

You don’t have to walk any particular way, but refinements offer definite benefits. If you are looking for the maximum effect, try leaning slightly forward from the ankles, not the waist. Leaning from the waist will put strain on the lower back. Keep your arms bent a 90-degree angle and swing them from the shoulder and keep you strides long and smooth. All of these will increase the intensity of the work out.

Even if you are looking for a casual, less intense type of exercise, walking of any kind and amount will be beneficial.

Walking with another person or a group can be fun and help you stay motivated and committed to your walking routine. Be on the lookout for chances to meet walking buddies. Maybe there is a co-worker who wants to start walking at lunchtime or a neighbor you can meet later in the day; chances are you can find others in your community to walk with.

Remember whether you're strolling through a mall, hiking through a park, or walking your dog around the neighborhood, walking lifts your spirits, clears your mind, and improves your health.

And once you start, keep walking! Walk as much as possible - every little bit counts.


  This article is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical advice if you have any concern about your health or physical condition, and you should always consult your physician before following the recommendations presented here.  

For more "Health & Wellness" click here to view back issues.


© Melt Magazine 2004