• Tips on Turning your Walk into a High Intensity Exercise

    by Dr. Hooman M. Melamed
    on Jul 13th, 2016

High Intensity Interval Training, or “HIIT,” is quickly becoming one of the most recommended forms of exercise due to its high levels of efficiency and effectiveness.  In fact, recent medical research suggests that focusing solely on endurance type activities, such as jogging or using a treadmill, can essentially rob us of the most important health benefits that exercise is meant to provide.

But the thought of changing our exercise routine into a high-intensity workout can be particularly intimidating, especially if we are currently somewhat out-of-shape or already struggling with our weight.   And older people may find these types of exercises a bit frightening, fearing that they could lead to possible injury.  By learning the proper techniques, people of all ages can benefit from HITT.

The Advantages of Daily Walks

A fantastic introduction into HITT, regardless of your age or fitness levels, is to begin by taking “power walks” each day.  Walk briskly and pump your arms, but try not to overdo it at first.  Simply getting off the couch has proven to increase lifespan and improve overall physical and mental health.  Most experts recommend a minimum of ten minutes of physical movement for every hour of stationary activity.

So if you sit on the sofa for three hours each night watching TV, then you should be walking about thirty minutes each day.  In fact, many even suggest limiting your daily levels of immobility to three hours or less each day by aiming to achieve between 7,000 and 10,000 steps daily.  This is easily monitored through the use of a simple and inexpensive fitness monitor.  Try implementing a walking program into your daily lunch schedule.  Walking helps reduce stress and has also shown to keep depression at bay.

Walking to a Happier Life

In a recent Australian study, a large percentage of middle-aged women who had been battling depression were asked to begin walking at lunch time.    For those who incorporated at least 3.25 hours of walking into their weekly routine, almost all of them reported feeling much more vibrant and rejuvenated.  The numbers were even higher for those who only spent about 2.5 hours each week performing medium-intensity power walks.  And as you might expect, they also reported feeling less physical pain and discomfort throughout the day, too.

Because walking seems so simple an action, most people severely underestimate its effectiveness.  Exercise doesn’t have to be overly strenuous in order to be highly beneficial.  In fact, a recent 2014 report suggests that walking for as little as two miles per day can reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 50 percent.  Walking can also decrease your chances of a lengthy hospital stay in later years.  Those are pretty remarkable numbers!

Author Dr. Hooman M. Melamed

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