An expert has given us the lowdown on how to get the most out of our walks since a recent study found that vigorous walking can decrease our biological age.
One of the most important things we can do for our emotional and physical well-being is to go out and move about. Many of us find it challenging to do that simple task because we mistakenly assume it necessitates a strenuous workout at the gym or in the long run. Remind yourself that even a tiny amount of physical activity, such as brisk walking, may do wonders for your overall health.
Regular walking has various health benefits, including improved blood flow, minor discomfort, and mental clarity. However, you may take a few basic measures to further your lockdown love.
A professor from the University of Edinburgh’s physical activity for health research section (and an avid walker), Professor Nanette Mutrie, provided us with some simple techniques to enhance our health by completing daily step goals. What she had to say about it is captured here.
Observe Your Steps
You may not know the distance you can walk in 20 minutes, how high your heart rate rises when strolling vs. pacing, or how long it takes to walk 5,000 steps.
I think pedometers or any step counting app on your phone or a fitness tracker may help you reach early targets and learn about the impact on your health, heart rate, and step count of how you go to the shops, take the dog for an extra walk or park further away, and adds Mutrie.
But she stresses the need to separate yourself from the numbers on the screen once you’ve found a rhythm for how much movement you and your body need. It’s all about making walking a part of your daily routine so that you don’t have to think too hard about how to get there, Mutrie adds.
The fury must be controlled.
In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers found that a lifetime of quick walking might result in a 16-year reduction in biological age by reaching middle age. In previous studies, a decreased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease has also been linked to faster walking.
Resistance may be a powerful tool.
There is evidence suggesting that walking with trekking poles increases the effort required, as the exercise involves the entire body, not just the legs, says Mutrie. Researchers at Bristol Nordic Walking found that using poles boosted heart rate by up to 33 beats per minute while reducing the time needed to complete a half-mile circuit by more than a minute. [source: research]
Excellent for hiking in the countryside, but perhaps not so useful for a city walk. Adding resistance in this situation can be accomplished with hand weights, but ankle weights should be avoided. To benefit from the importance, you must carry it above your entre of gravity. When utilizing ankle weights, you run the risk of injuring your hip flexors due to the constant movement of the importance.”
Make a friend walk with you.
Joining a walking group says Mutrie, is a great way to get the most out of your walk’s health benefits. Working out in groups has been proven to increase our fitness levels because of the “different obstacles,” “help you build up your confidence in walking,” and, as Mutrie points out, “enhances [our] capacity to complete walking.”
Because of the coronavirus outbreak, several walking groups cancelled their meetings. If that isn’t an option for you, consider going for a walk with a friend or family member for moral support, chat, or even friendly competition.
Songs can be played.
Researchers found that listening to high-tempo music while exercising resulted in the highest heart rate and the lowest perceived exertion. Although the activity appears less challenging, it is more beneficial. Endurance training, like walking, was the most effective when it came to exercise.
Of course, if you’re looking to get the most out of your walks in terms of mental health benefits, you’ll want to engage in more contemplative, unplugged activity. It’s up to us to find ways to make walking fun enough that we’ll keep doing it for the rest of our lives. As Mutrie continues, “if music, an audiobook, a podcast, or being alone with your thoughts is the means to do that, that’s terrific.”
Moving slowly to one person may seem fast to another if they are more in shape, have an injury, or have reached old age.
Exercise at a higher intensity produces additional benefits, although they are short-lived. “It is only desirable to go at a high rate of speed if you love it.” If you don’t enjoy quick walking and stop doing it, you won’t benefit from it.”
The current UK recommendation for physical activity is 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, which should be considered. That means that if you go for a 30-minute walk every night, the only exception would be if you’re already really fit, in which case you’d need to work a little more to raise your heart rate.
Acclimate yourself to the rising terrain.
Walking up a hill may not come as a surprise, but why is it so difficult? A 2017 research by King George’s Medical University found that walking uphill includes more concentric muscular contractions than walking downhill, making it more difficult (i.e., shortening the muscles).
As a result, the cardiovascular system is put under more stress due to the increased metabolic demand for exercising muscles.
The 7,500-step journey is over.
Ten thousand steps a day is a more effective marketing strategy than sound guidance, as it turns out. Research suggests that walking’s health benefits peak at roughly 7,500 steps per day, so don’t stress hitting the five-digit milestone just yet!
Walking outside is necessary for good health.
As a result, a 2015 Japanese research of young Japanese women revealed that those who walked in a forest rather than an urban area had much more parasympathetic nerve activity and less sympathetic activity, or “fight or flight,” neurological activity.
“You’ll benefit from stepping indoors or using a treadmill to exercise if the weather is terrible, you’re shielding because of Covid, or you’re restricted in the house with kids,” Nanette adds. “Moving around the home is better than doing nothing at all,” the saying goes.