Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Certainly walking isn’t as intense as running. However, both activities target similar muscle groups, which may be why results in improving heart health are so similar. Research suggests that the type of exercise may not be as important as how much you go, go go. So move forward; locomote; get your gait on!
Walking for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:
Want some easy, practical walking tips to get you started or rev you up more? Watch our short video on Walking for Weight Loss (and More). Then bust a move to our post Great Gait: 7 Steps to Better Walking to really get the most out of your walks.
Walk For Weight Loss (video)
Another Fun Fit Fact about walking is that for every hour you perambulate (just had to use that jaunty word), your life expectancy may increase by two hours. Not only that, but a faster stride may also be a predictor of a longer life. (Convinced yet? Read our post Can Walking Really Get You to Your Fit Destination?)
Of all the cardio exercise options out there, walking has the lowest dropout rate! It’s the easiest, most accessible, positive change you can make to improve your heart health. And the benefits are exponential. The more you walk, the greater your odds of lowering heart disease risk. What are you walking for?
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I recently won a free blood test from WellnessFX. The cool part? It included a consultation with a registered dietitian.
Maybe your reaction is, “Big deal. I get my blood drawn once a year during my physical.” Yes, but does your doctor actually take 20 minutes to explain what the results mean? And does your doc then make dietary suggestions? Aha, that’s the bonus.
I exercise quite a lot and take no prescription drugs, so I chose the RD for my consultation. But I could have chosen from their list of medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths or naturopathic doctors.
I drove to Ventura, California, for the blood draw, and was in and out in 15 minutes. A few days later I received my results, which of course, were only vaguely comprehensible to me (I do know how to read the cholesterol and iron bit, but that’s about it). The results categories were red, orange and green. I was green in nearly every category, which is the good color!
No magic here – the green is a result of exercise and a healthy diet (portion size and food selection). The only result of concern was my LDL – low density lipoprotein. That’s the bad cholesterol. For this, I blame my parents, as there’s a genetic component. I’m not a big ice cream or milk person, but I cook and bake with butter. So even though I don’t use a lot of it, during our consultation the RD still suggested I substitute olive or canola oil when possible. I’m putting her recommendations here because they are good ideas for everyone to consider:
Use unsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil) in place of saturated fats (butter) when cooking.
Limit amount of butter added to food (1-2 teaspoons).
Avoid Trans Fats (hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil) often found in regular peanut butter, packaged baked goods, and fast food.
She said my elevated bilirubin could be related to my self-reported high stress levels. Even though I do lots of exercise, I also have a lot of financial stress (anyone else paying out-of-state university fees?) and constant work deadlines. So I’ll consider yoga (probably won’t happen), more walks (probably will happen), or going to bed earlier (probably won’t happen).
Luckily the RD didn’t push me to take a bevy of supplements, as that wouldn’t be me, but she did suggest Omega-3 fish oil, which makes sense for someone who’s a vegetarian and over 50 (which I may or may not be)! Because I’m very picky, I went with the softgels from Pure Matters, a company that puts it right out there in their mission statement: “Our bodies and lives are the product of what we put into them. Our goal is to be the most transparent and holistic source for wellness and performance available.”
Whenever I remember that my body and life reflect my choices, it’s fairly easy to walk away from poor foods.
I wrote this post to encourage all of you to stay on top of your health. Get your blood checked. Move your carcass. Eat foods that are friendly to your body. Take supplements as needed. And be kind to those idiots who drive under the speed limit on a one-lane mountain pass when you’re late to work. Yeah, still working on that one…
Speaking of winners (me and you), have you entered our giveaway yet for a free one-year membership to Anytime Fitness? The deadline is 17 January, so get your entries in!
I was not compensated for this post. I was provided with the Omega-3 fish oil tablets from Pure Matters at no cost. All opinions, blood, stress and youthfulness are entirely my own!
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Photo credits: CreativeCommons.org: Debs (ò?ó)? (tomato heart)