Walking for Fitness: Fact or Fiction?

You know that exercise promotes better health. Your doctor tells you to get more exercise. The government puts out official exercise recommendations for you to follow. And I'm always ranting about the importance of regular exercise

So you go on a walk and then pat yourself on the back. Exercise accomplished-right?

This begs the question: Can you get fit by walking?


A research team at the University of Alberta took this question on in a detailed study. They compared a group that took part in a walking program with a group that did a traditional fitness routine at moderate intensity.

The results? The fitness level of the walkers was significantly lower than those who did traditional exercise at moderate intensity. Here is what the lead researcher, Dr. Vicki Harber, had to say:

"Generally, low-intensity activity such as walking alone is not likely to give anybody marked health benefits compared to programs that occasionally elevate the intensity."

Harber went on to say that, "You've go to do more than light exercise and move towards the inclusion of regular moderate activity, and don't be shy to interject an occasional period of time at the vigorous level."

Hmmm, so walking for exercise won't give you the health benefits that more challenging exercise delivers. What does this mean for your walking routine? Is there any place in fitness for walking?

What walking can do for you...

Don't get me wrong-there is a place for walking in fitness. If you are brand new to exercise then walking is the first activity that you'll need to master. Walking is a wonderful activity for you if your body is overweight, under conditioned and simply unaccustomed to moving much.

Look at walking as a stepping stone to fitness. It transitions you from the couch to the gym. Walking is just a notch above not moving-you'll burn a few calories and warm up unused muscles.

The problem comes when your exercise routine begins and ends with walking.

You see, like the study above pointed out, walking just won't deliver results. Your body is so efficient in its ability to adapt that you have to increase your exercise intensity in order to see results.

Beyond walking...

Once you have mastered brisk walking, you are ready for a new challenge, namely, resistance training. If you haven't tried resistance training then it may sound a little scary.

Isn't resistance training just a fancy word for 'lifting weights'? And don't you have to be an athlete to lift weights?

I understand your reservations about beginning a resistance training program, however the facts are undeniable-in order to achieve substantial health and fitness results you must use resistance training. Besides, you will soon find resistance training to be quite enjoyable and not something exclusive to athletes.

What are the benefits of Resistance Training?

Just to name a few…

  • Increase in muscle strength and tone
  • Increase in metabolism (this means extra fat burning)
  • Increase in bone density
  • Injury prevention
  • Improved posture
  • Improved health (lowered blood pressure and cholesterol; lowers your risk for adult-onset diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers)
  • Improved mood and self esteem

Wow-that's an impressive list of benefits. Resistance training is simply the way to go when you want to get fit. Couple a resistance training program with a challenging cardiovascular routine and you will be well on your way to achieving all of your fitness goals.

If you aren't seeing results with your current exercise program, then it is time to give me a call.

Let's get you started on a program that offers the resistance training and cardiovascular challenge that your body needs. This program can be done from home or in-person at the Fitness Pros / BIOHACKERS facility!

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