You walk all day and all night, with the dog and with kids. Yet, your belly is not shrinking! Is walking the right workout for your waist?
The other day at a chiropractor’s office, a bomb was dropped on me. This was my very first visit, and after this incredible comment, I was ready to call it my last.
The incredible comment was, “You need to stop doing HIIT”.
If you don’t know, HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and has been the foundation of my daily movement for more than 2 years. It is ideal for a busy working mom, because it gets you sweaty and energized in just 10-20 minutes. You can even squeeze the workout in before your kids start their day!
However, HIIT is not for the faint of heart, or those with injuries. Speaking of injury, that was the reason I ended up in a chiropractic office. While in mountain climber position one morning, I felt my back give way. I couldn’t stand up straight or walk without a limp. I have had many back scares since I had surgery for a slipped disk back in 2006.
But, this one took me out for a good week. Flashbacks of my nightmare experience leading up to the back surgery taunted me.
Finally, I ended up in a chiropractor’s care. Until he told me to give up my beloved HIIT, and to replace it with walking.
Noticing my deadly glare, he reversed quickly and told me another good exercise option was none other than…..water aerobics.
Here is why I don’t give a splash about water aerobics.
- I don’t have a pool in my backyard
- I don’t like using public pools that get closed down due to “contamination” (ew!)
- I have a daytime schedule that prohibits signing up for the local senior water aerobics classes
Don’t get me wrong- I love the water! I was born under a water sign, feel happiest when I’m in the waves (ocean or lake, I don’t discriminate), and would be content as a mermaid. But, the water is a usually a form of relaxation for me, not exercise. Plus, you can’t feel the sweat in the water.
Well, I could always walk, right? That’s probably the best route for a woman who has back issues from time to time. A weight loss warrior I admire, Diane Carbonell, has lost 150 pounds using walking as her primary form of exercise. Good for her, but I would say her results are atypical.
The reason why is simple, “To get where you want to go, you have to do something you’ve never done”.
I walk every day, though at a more leisurely stroll than some. Even if I got all crazy with Nordic poles and a speed walker’s pace, it wouldn’t do the trick for dropping those additional 20 pounds I recently gained.
There are many benefits to walking, including stress relief, lower blood pressure, and increased circulation. For more on benefits of exercise that have nothing to do with weight loss, check out this great article http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2015/07/20/rethinking-exercise-as-a-source-of-immediate-rewards/.
However, walking just doesn’t get the adrenaline and sweat going like HIIT. Plus, you are unlikely to drop any significant weight while walking.
Exercising at a low intensity can be helpful for some, but only when you are currently a couch potato. Plus, you need to walk for much longer than 30 minutes to get any real calorie burn out of it.
Have you ever talked to someone who regularly logs 50-60 miles a week? Whether it’s running or walking, that type of mileage takes a lot of time! Between my day job, business and family, I have carefully carved out 30 minutes of dedicated time every morning to exercise. In order to get any decent mileage out of walking, I would have to wake up 60 minutes earlier! Sorry, but 5:30 AM is early enough for me.
Walking does nothing for the larger muscles in your body. Unless you wear a weighted vest, carry hand weights, wear your baby, or use Nordic poles, you are NOT getting the benefits of resistance training. By the way, if you’re a woman over 35, you MUST start resistance training. (Get some easy tips on resistance training HERE.)
The number one thing my clients tell me when it comes to their exercise is “Well, I do a lot of walking”. That is great! Walking has many benefits, but weight loss is not typically one of them. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that walking will get you the body of your dreams. To get the body of your dreams, you need to do forms of exercise that both challenge you AND shape you.
It’s your turn! Do you walk as your primary form of exercise?
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