Why Walking Isn"t Really Exercise

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Many people use walking as their main source of exercise and believe it might be all they need to shed those extra pounds. Is walking really an effective means of raising one's level of vitality? As you'll see, walking has it's limitations but many benefits as well.

I recommend regular walking to promote your physical and mental well-being. In addition, walking is mildly thermogenic, which means that it raises internal body heat. The heat (energy) is then released into the atmosphere as muscle contraction and movement, rather than being stored as fat (excess energy).

Walking after eating has several benefits. It improves digestion and increases the speed at which waste moves through the gastrointestinal tract. It stimulates blood flow throughout the vascular system, improving cellular oxygenation and cardiac health.

A great time to walk is after your evening meal. Walking at this time changes your brain state and reduces the likelihood of over-eating. Rather than collapsing on the couch after dinner and watching TV, go for a 20 minute walk. When you return, your mental state will be different. Brain state is relative to motion.

Physical activity will distract you from food and appetite.
Walking will benefit you whether you do it alone or with a partner. Walking by yourself allows you to consider life and reflect on important issues. Walking with a partner creates time for conversation and bonding.

Walking allows you to breathe, de-stress the mind, unwind and take in the beauty around you. If you are lucky, walk through parks, trails, rivers, lakes or stream or along the beach to appreciate nature. One caveat - do not rely on walking exclusively for 'exercise'. Walking is a physical activity, not exercise, and does not, by itself, prevent the loss of lean functional tissue. For that weight training is required.

Additionally, exercise should be included as a means to improve your level of physical fitness. I'm referring to enhancing your flexibility, mobility, muscular strength and power as well as aerobic endurance. These physical fitness markers can only be improved with a progressive exercise routine.

That said, while being physically active is very beneficial to your health and well-being, it should not be used as a supplement to regular exercise. Use activities such as daily walks, golfing, gardening or other active and enjoyable activities to keep activ,e and as an accessory to exercise in your pursuit of optimal health.
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