I was listening to the latest episode of the Model Health Show and I was inspired to write this article, surprisingly, about my favorite and basic exercise I do every single day. I felt the psychological and physical benefits of eating, but now I also know the science behind it; a bigger reason to keep on doing it. I am talking about the exercise humans have evolved doing it. The exercise humans are aerodynamically developed to perform regularly. You know it: walking.
This basic and complex exercise has been forgotten since the introduction of the large variety of transportation methods. Even if you need to go to your friend 1km away you get into the car. Even if your office or school is 30 minutes walk away, you get the bus, the taxi, or the personal car. How lazy and comfortable could you be? Come on! I mean, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment. Even now after you finish reading this post you can stand up and go for a 5-minute walk, no matter where you are.
Imagine this, there are people who lost their legs, okay? Or are paralyzed. The single thing they have in mind is: “God, I would give anything, even years from my current life to just make a few steps.” My grandmother had a spine tumour and her peripheral nervous system was affected so that she can only make a few steps around the house and around the block. When I call her and say I walk 12km every day, she tells me: “Boy, you are so lucky! How I wish to walk like you again. When thinking about all those people who literally CAN walk and don’t do it…”.
I hope this gave you a little momentum to start walking again every day. Let’s have a look at the scientifically proven benefits of walking.
The lymphatic system is the body’s sewerage. The lymphatic system carries the lymph, which contains the majority of immune cells, but also waste products, cellular debris - toxins - , hence the nickname storage. The problem with the lymphatic system is, as Shawn Stevenson points out, the is static. The heart doesn’t pump it throughout the body like your blood. The only way of putting the lymph on the move is by movement, which is exactly what walking does. Just 30 minutes of walking cleanse the lymphatic system and helps the body remove the waste. Cool right?
High blood sugar is a major problem, especially in the long-term, because it leads to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and weight gain - obesity. Walking after the meal, even for people suffering from diabetes, reduces blood sugar levels and keeps them stable for 24 hours (better than drugs).
Many research studies have revealed the aging is a consequence of the shortening of telomeres. I am not going to go into deep scientific explanations. You can do the research on telomeres on your own. What is important is that regular long endurance exercise, like walking, prevents telomeres from shortening, thus, increase longevity.
This is the most engaging part for you, I know it. When people hear exercise, they can only think about weight control or weight loss. Believe me, exercise is more to health than weight control. Fat burn is actually a side effect of healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, walking, especially power walking (which I love the most), helps you burn more calories and fat storages. Some people suggest you may even burn fat around the waist, but I doubt it. The place where you store and burn fat from is not regulated by the type of exercise, but rather by your endocrine system (hormones). Still, low-intensity aerobic exercise, like walking, helps the body utilize more energy from fat stores, especially visceral fat.
The scientific explanation behind power walking and fat burning is when you walk vigorously you increase your heart rate into a specific range that stimulates your body to use energy from fat and not from glucose. The fat burn range is between 50% - 75% of your maximal heart rate. Power walking is a low-intensity cardiovascular exercise.
I combine power walking (low-intensity exercise) with strength training (high-intensity interval training) which is even better, because I also develop lean muscle mass, bone density, and increase metabolism.
Everybody confirms that exercise increases your energy, your self-esteem, and boosts your mood. I guarantee it from my own experience. Also walking in nature helps me relax and clear my mind. Hippocrates confirms it!
Walking is the best medicine
Are you still here? Get out and take a walk! Oh, I am sorry, is it raining? Is it cold outside? Say that to the people without legs! As C.T. Fletcher says, “Go cry in your cornflakes, you sissy!”.
- The Model Health Show
- Lymphatic system
- What’s The Best Way To Cleanse The Lymphatic System?
- Lüdtke, Denise & Meyer, Antje & Salewsky, Bastian & Kroh, Martin & Norman, Kristina & Steinhagen-Thiessen, Elisabeth & Demuth, Ilja. (2015). Sports and Exercise at Different Ages and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Later Life - Data from the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). PloS one. 10. e0142131. 10.1371/journal.pone.0142131.
- Loretta DiPietro, Andrei Gribok, Michelle S. Stevens, Larry F. Hamm and William Rumpler, Three 15-min Bouts of Moderate Postmeal Walking Significantly Improves 24-h Glycemic Control in Older People at Risk for Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Diabetes Care 2013 Jun; DC_130084.
- Peter Russell, WebMD, Fast-Slow Walking May Be Better for Diabetes
- Elizabeth Fernandez, Lifestyle Changes May Lengthen Telomeres, A Measure of Cell Aging, University of California San Francisco, September 16, 2013
- Salynn Boyles, WebMD, Molecular Proof: Exercise Keeps You Young
- The Weird Life, The best type of exercise of longer telomeres
- Daniel G Carey, Quantifying Differences in the “Fat Burning” Zone and the Aerobic Zone: Implications For Training, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 23(7):2090-2095, OCT 2009
- Cris A. Slentz, Lori A. Bateman, Leslie H. Willis, A. Tamlyn Shields, Charles J. Tanner, Lucy W. Piner, Victoria H. Hawk, Michael J. Muehlbauer, Greg P. Samsa, Rendon C. Nelson, Kim M. Huffman, Connie W. Bales, Joseph A. Houmard, William E. Kraus, Effects of aerobic vs. resistance training on visceral and liver fat stores, liver enzymes, and insulin resistance by HOMA in overweight adults from STRRIDE AT/RT, American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism Published 26 October 2011 Vol. 301 no. 5, E1033-E1039 DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00291.2011
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