Go for a Walk and Get Fit
It’s the New Year! And it’s a great time to think cardio.
I can feel the collective groan when I write, “cardio.” Most imagine high-profile athletes that sweat iridescent sports drinks – whose faces don’t turn a blotchy strange color when they exercise. Or crowded gyms, cross-fit trainers yelling, and that really uncomfortable feeling that you’re just not in the place you want to be.
Cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that gets your heart rate up and blood pumping. Anyone who does cardio will experience fat and weight loss (when combined with a balanced diet). But cardio is for more than just losing inches.
Cardiovascular exercise increases your heart health. With heart disease the number one cause of death for men and women in the United States, going cardio is a smart way to stay fit and healthy.
Cardiovascular exercise can help you manage diabetes: According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2012, 9.3% of the US population had diabetes. Exercise helps control blood glucose levels and, in turn, diabetes.
Cardiovascular exercise improves your metabolism. Increased metabolism also helps you maintain or lose weight.
Cardiovascular exercise makes you feel good and relieve stress. Exercise increases brain serotonin function in our bodies, releasing our inborn anti-stress hormones. So you can “clear your head” without needing an appointment!
So when the New Year rolls around and we think cardio, we get stuck thinking about the inevitable pain and discomfort of cardio. Cardio doesn’t have to be horrible. In fact, it’s as simple as a stroll in the park. For real.
Nutrition Action.com discusses a recent study. Robert Ross, an exercise physiologist at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, conducted a study with 300 overweight 50-something adults, having them walk four or five days each week for a period of six months. The 300 participants were divided into four groups: moderate walkers for 30 minute sessions, moderate walkers for 60 minute sessions, brisk walkers for 40 minute sessions, and a final group that did nothing. Their calorie intake wasn’t reduced; however, they did eat balanced diets with the coaching of registered dietitians.
All three exercise groups had positive results and improved their fitness levels. Interestingly, though, the 60 minute moderate walkers and 40 minute brisk walkers had the same results in terms of improved fitness. The biggest difference is time investment.
So, for those who want to improve cardiovascular fitness, and overall health, can now, literally, walk away from bad habits and poor fitness. It’s just a matter of carving out time to walk to health, whether it be walking to the office, the grocery store, your kids to school, or taking the dog to the park. All this walking has some pretty great side effects like boosting your fitness, decreasing your waistline, flooding your body with serotonin, and bringing you heart and life health.
So who says you can’t walk away from your problems?