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Of all the fitness fads that have come and gone in the last few years, walking has continued to be popular and is one of the easiest to work into a busy schedule. It takes no special equipment, no special clothes or a special location. A pair of comfortable shoes and socks as well as some comfortable clothing are all that you need to obtain the greatest benefits from your walks.

Any amount of time spent walking will be beneficial, three to five hours a week devoted to it will give important benefits in several fitness categories.

Weight Loss

Walking is just as good as jogging per mile of exercise and total mileage, not speed, is the goal. It can be fast or slow to burn calories and it avoids the high impact problems for the obese. Although a reduced calorie diet is essential for most weight-loss programs, diet without exercise makes you lose muscle mass as well as fat. Your body reacts by increasing your appetite and as soon as you go off the diet you will eat more than you did before. Walking acts like a suppressant to your appetite. An ideal goal is 14 to 21 miles per week.

Aerobic Benefits

To improve cardiovascular fitness, brisk walking (3.5 to 6 miles per hour) is needed for 20 minute, 2 to 4 times per week. This kind of walking forces the heart to carry a higher-than-normal load, pushing it up to 60-70 percent of it’s maximum rate.

Cholesterol

Regular walking seems to increase the body’s level of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which in turn carries the dangerous Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) out of the arteries. This benefit decreases your risk of atherosclerosis, thus lowering the risk of heart disease.

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Yours in Health, Naturally!

Dr. Gould