Don’t consider walking from the fax machine to the copier as exercise, it isn’t! Because we have to walk as part of our regular day, walking is often overlooked as a viable form of exercise. Walking doesn’t have the flash or mystique of a spinning or yoga class, but it should be the staple of any health regimen because the motion of walking aids in the circulation of blood, lymphatic and cerebrospinal fluids. By keeping these fluids moving, walking reduces the negative effects of stress and toxicity on the body. It also requires little more than a supportive, comfortable pair of shoes; no fancy equipment and no expensive gym memberships and very little physical damage to the body. Brisk walking can have as much has 80% of the benefit that running does without all of the physical damage and injury to the feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
When we walk briskly (for the specific purpose of exercising) for 20-30 minutes, at least three times per week, we may reap many benefits including:
1. Improved blood circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the body’s 100 trillion cells; improved elimination of wastes and toxins. This equates to increased energy and vigor, better sleep and sharper mental acuity. This process of moving healthy nutrients into the cells and removing toxins and wastes is described in my book Bio-Logikal: Your Guide to Optimal Health as the exchange of life”.
2. Activating muscle tissue. Studies show that it is common in our society for us to lose muscle mass as we get older. By walking (or other exercising), we can maintain more muscle mass longer and later in life. The more muscle mass we preserve, the better our metabolism and generally the healthier we remain.
3. Improved acid/alkaline balance in the body. In my book Bio-Logikal, an entire chapter is devoted to the concept of pH (acid/alkaline) balance in the body. Maintaining proper pH is a significant factor in regaining and maintaining your health.
In the beginning, how long you walk or how fast is not important. The focus should be getting out there and doing it….everyday. Just walk! As your fitness level improves, you will naturally be able to walk faster and for longer periods of time.
Your Heart Rate: A brisk walk that raises your resting heart rate by approximately 50% is sufficient. To calculate your resting heart rate, sit in a chair for 5 minutes without talking. Using a watch with a second hand, check your pulse with your index and middle finger just next to your Adam’s apple. Here you will feel a strong pulse. Count the number of beats in a 30 second period, then double that number; this is your resting heart rate.
An example: If your heartbeat count is 40 beats in 30 seconds, your resting heart rate is 80, and your target (heart rate for exercise) would be 120 beats per minute, or 60 beats counted in 30 seconds. An easy way to calculate the target rate is to multiply the number of beats you counted in thirty seconds at rest by three. In this example, we simply tripled the resting heart rate of 40 counted in 30 seconds: the target heart rate when exercising would be 120 beats per minute (40 x 3 = 120).
Tips: If you are walking to the point where you can’t catch your breath or are having cramping, you are going too fast for your fitness level. A good suggestion and guideline for walking is that you should be able to walk with a friend and maintain a conversation without getting out of breath.
If weather is a challenge, go to your local mall to do your walking. The scenery really helps the time fly by! If time is a factor or there are no malls nearby, a simple treadmill can be a worthy purchase. When walking by yourself, listening to you