Walking: does it score as physical exercise? Lose weight? How long should we walk a day?

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The confinement mobility restrictions drove the resurgence stronger than ever from the ride. Simple, cheap and effective, it has become the favorite physical activity of many people who want to keep fit outdoors, but what are its real benefits? What should we do to get the most out of a walk?

Here are some clues …

SCORED AS A PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?

Of course. In fact, it is one of the alternatives proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to comply that minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise that adults (aged between 18 and 64) must complete to maintain healthy lifestyle habits.

Walking, like climbing stairs or doing housework, is part of that daily movement (which many also avoid) that activates the NEAT (Not Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), that is, the burning of calories that our body produces by carrying out all daily activities.

WHAT BENEFITS DOES IT PROVIDE?

The WHO makes this very clear. We must forget about the car and recover something as natural as walking in order to improve cardiorespiratory, muscle and bone health functions. Also to reduce the risk of suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as myocardial infarction, stroke, cancer, diabetes and COPD, together they cause about 70% of deaths in the world.

Movement is also key to fighting depression, boost self-esteem and be happier.

IS WALKING ENOUGH?

It is a great ally but we must also do, according to the WHO, two strength sessions a week (As minimum). Thus, we will be able to maintain the muscles with the necessary volume so that they fulfill the functions of natural support (of bones and viscera) and of ‘metabolic oven’ (the more muscular power, the greater the burning of calories even when resting).

Mobility and flexibility they would complete the portrait of a well ‘oiled’ anatomy.

HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO WALK A DAY?

The 20 minutes daily -divided into two 10-minute sessions if we are not capable of more- that the WHO recommends are a good start but they remain a little scarce. To get more benefits from our walk, the ideal would be to get to the half an hour or, better yet, an hour. In any case, the important thing is to get up from the sofa and move.

WHY DO YOU RECOMMEND TO TAKE 10,000 STEPS?

Or what is the same, about 8 km (although everything depends on the length of the stride). That was the recommendation that, in the 60’s of the last century XX, formulated the doctor Hatano. Alarmed at the growing obesity problem, the Japanese doctor observed that people barely managed to take 5,000 steps a day and concluded that doubling that amount would also double the caloric expenditure.

Over the years, those 10,000 steps have become the daily challenge of millions of people around the world who base their fitness on walking.

Lose Weight?

Walking helps us keep us at our ideal weight. If our goal is to lose weight, we have no choice but to put more cane in each session, complementing them with strength routines, and, above all, take care of our diet.

Exercising is not a safe-conduct to put us up at the table later. The extra kilos do not go away if it is not eaten in a clean and balanced way, avoiding processed products, bad fats and sugars.

WHAT IS MORE EFFECTIVE: MORE TIME / SMOOTH OR LESS TIME / MORE INTENSITY?

Although every movement adds up, it results more interesting to walk faster for less time -increasing our heart rate- we have to slow it down for a longer period of time. Ten minutes can be much more effective if the procession step is spent well than an hour while looking at shop windows. In either case, both options are beneficial.

HOW CAN WE BOOST THE BENEFITS?

There are many, but the easiest to implement is play with the travel and intensity. In other words, choose routes with slopes that require more effort and make us work our buttocks and quads (without forgetting to activate the core). And insert intervals in which we alternate higher speed peaks with slower phases that allow us to catch our breath.

In this way, we will achieve raise our heart rate to the calorie burning zone. A good resource, as long as our joints do not allow them, are the CaCos, a successful combination of walking and running that, in addition, can help us get started in the world of running.

WHAT ‘PLUS’ DOES THE NORDIC MARCH PROVIDE US?

Walking with Nordic poles will help us set the pace and improve our posture. Eminently aerobic discipline, that increases heart rate, improving cardiovascular endurance and promoting calorie burning, the use of poles, in addition, allows to carry out, at the same time, a very effective force work.

With a single activity we will mobilize 90% of the muscles of the body (it is estimated that in sports as complete as swimming it reaches 65%), activating especially the upper body (shoulders, arms and ‘core’).

According to the criteria of

The Trust Project

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https://www.elmundo.es/ciencia-y-salud/salud/2020/07/25/5f19736521efa08f7f8b4662.html

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