Why Walking Is The Best Weight Loss Exercise At Home!
Today the pandemic has forced millions of people all over the world to work from home.
And many of them are working more than twelve hours a day.
Naturally they are leading a very sedentary life.
With the result, many have ended up gaining a lot of weight during the pandemic.
And many of them have not even visited their doctors for their regular check up for conditions like hypertension, diabetes, or even heart disease, for the fear of getting infected.
And most people believe that they have to take up heavy strength training exercises to lose weight.
But they have to go to gyms to do them.
Also one needs to wear a mask and maintain distance from others to prevent getting infected and exercising with a mask on can be dangerous as it causes hypoxia when the body actually demands more oxygen.
And many gyms are air conditioned and lack ventilation.
That increases the chances of getting infected with Covid.
And they believe that home exercises cannot help them to lose weight!
That isn’t true at all!
Researchers have long known that cardiovascular exercise helps us lose weight and lowers our blood pressure, blood sugar, total cholesterol and the bad cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increases our good cholesterol, the HDL cholesterol.
Raised levels of total cholesterol and LDL or low density lipid cholesterol and triglycerides lead to clot formation in the coronary arteries causing blockages in them causing heart disease.
Healthy levels of HDL or high density lipid cholesterol clears the clots from the coronary arteries and protects us from heart diseases.
Brisk walking, jogging, running, dancing, aerobics, working out on treadmill and elliptical trainers, cycling and swimming are cardiovascular exercises.
Many people believe that only heavy strength training exercises can help them lose weight and for that they have to go to gyms.
And most people can buy some free weights and keep them at home, but few can have gym machines at home.
Many people also believe that floor exercises like squats, lunges, sit ups, crunches or yoga can help them lose weight and they can do these at home.
But let us compare the calories burned in walking, strength training and floor exercises.
Walking can burn between 250 to 350, even 400 calories if truly brisk, strength training 180 to 250 calories and floor exercises 120 to 180 calories per hour.
And we can easily walk for one, one and half or two hours spread over the day, at our convenience.
You can hardly do more than an hour of strength training or floor exercises, and those too not without breaks, so the real time actually comes down below one hour.
Most people under my care walk 8 to 10 km or more, daily, effortlessly once they get fit!
These people tend to burn 400 to 500 calories daily and lose weight happily while getting fit and healthy.
Gaining a little extra muscle weight due to strength training helps improve metabolism and helps us burn a few extra calories day long, but still they are not on par with what you can burn in cardiovascular exercises.
And benefits of brisk walking are the same as those of high intensity cardiovascular exercises like running, dancing, aerobics, working out on treadmill and elliptical trainers, cycling and swimming.
So you can see how effective walking can be even at home!
This means walking can make you slim, fit and healthy without the risk of injuries.
And there is no need of visiting a gym, a trainer or any special equipment.
There is no need to learn any new technique.
All you need is to wear proper shoes and begin to walk.
US Government guidelines recommend 150 minutes of ‘moderate’ exercise or 75 minutes of ‘vigorous’ exercise each week. Walking 100 steps a minute constitutes moderate exercise while 130 steps a minute constitutes vigorous exercise. In terms of distance covered per hour, 4.4 km/hour constitutes moderate exercise while 5.7 km/hour constitutes vigorous exercise.
Researchers have found that most people walk at over a hundred steps per minute when asked to walk at their comfortable pace, that is they already walk at moderate pace. So taking them a step ahead at a time, to 110, 120 and 130 steps per minute is not very difficult.
So the best plan is to begin walking regularly at home at your normal, comfortable pace and time and increase pace and time as you get fitter. In fact, your speed and distance increase automatically as your fitness improves!
And you can walk within small distances of twenty feet or so.
You can also walk between two rooms or through more rooms.
If there isn’t space enough to walk you can march in one place.
Soon your energy levels and mood improve, and you start enjoying walking at home. You look healthier and your skin starts glowing with the new found health.
You can soon walk for thirty to forty-five minutes twice a day consistently very much within your home, it gives you better metabolic rate than walking once day.
Once you get fitter, you can also jog on the spot at home if there is not enough space, or slow run if there is enough space. This will be a higher intensity exercise.
You can also use a motorised treadmill or an elliptical cross trainer or an exercise bike at home.
In short, walking is the magical exercise that can make you slim and healthy without the fear of injuries. And you must walk even if you are slim!
Weight loss of every four kg has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by 6.25 mm and diastolic blood pressure by 4 mm. So you can see how valuable the weight loss is.
Cardiovascular exercise including walking has also been shown to improve ventricular mass and wall thickness, reduce arterial stiffness and improve endothelial function.
Endothelium is the innermost lining of the arterial walls.
The endothelium produces small amounts of nitric oxide which keeps the endothelium smooth and slippery, allowing the blood to flow smoothly and preventing inflammation of the endothelium and clot formation by white cells and platelets, by preventing them from attaching to it.
It also relaxes the smooth muscle cells of the middle layer of the arterial wall, below the endothelium, preventing their spasms and keeping arteries open.
It means walking at home can keep your coronary arteries healthy.
In simple words, cardiovascular exercise including walking help us lose weight, lowers our blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and improves our HDL cholesterol levels and keeps our arteries healthy and protects us from heart attacks and strokes!
And we can walk, jog or slow run to get slim, fit and heart healthy, very much at home!