George Meegan spent seven years walking 19,019 miles from the southern tip of South America to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. But you don't have to walk that far to gain the benefits of putting one foot in front of the other.
Among its virtues: Walking is low-impact, and you likely won't get injured or wear out your joints. Plus, as you're passed by joggers who seem to be thinking, "What's walking? That's not exercise!" you can take satisfaction in knowing that your activity actually delivers MORE health benefits than running does!
A new study evaluated the health boosts you get from equivalent energy expenditures with moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running. (Run for 15 minutes? Walk for about 30 minutes to get an equivalent energy output.)
- Walking reduced the risk for developing hypertension by 7.2 percent; running, 4.2 percent.
- Walking slashed the risk for developing high cholesterol by 7 percent; running, 4.3 percent.
- Walking cut the risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 12.3 percent; running, 12.1 percent.
- And walking nipped the risk for developing coronary artery disease 9.3 percent, running 4.5 percent.
Interested? Enlist a pal, and try this:
Weeks 1-2: Walk continuously for 30 minutes (1 mile in 16-18 minutes), three times a week.
Weeks 3-4: Go for 30 minutes (1 mile in 14-15 minutes) five times a week.
Week 5: Increase to 45 minutes almost every day. Over time, aim for 10,000 steps daily. And if you combine daily walking and 20 minutes of aerobics three times a week, amazing things happen!