With the holidays upon us this is a crucial time of the year for everyone’s fitness goals, as the average American gains one to two pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While this may not sound like a significant amount, it can easily add up if the person experiences this weight gain year after year, and for many, that amount of weight can take months to get back off. Getting to the gym any time during the year can be difficult, but the added stress and activities of the holidays only makes it more difficult. What I will talk about in this article is an easy fix for those barriers, and it is doable for everyone!
For as long as individuals have been exercising, walking has been the exercise of choice, especially in the elder population. Walking is easy as all you must do is go outside, or hop on a treadmill, and it works! There are a few downsides though: since walking is such an easy activity, it can take an hour or two to burn a significant number of calories. Also, as of late there have been many studies showing that over time, steady state cardio such as long walks, are detrimental to your metabolism over time and the benefit of long walks diminishes over time. Recent studies have shown that instead of performing one long walk each day, three 10-minute walks prove much higher results in just about every way possible.
Who should do it? Everyone, and I mean everyone! It does not matter what age you are, whether you don’t currently exercise, or even if you are already avidly exercising. 10-minute walks have an abundance of benefits which reach individuals of all fitness levels from beginners, to world record powerlifters.
What are the Benefits?
As stated previously, individuals of all ages, and all fitness levels will benefit from short, brisk walks.
1. Increase your daily activity level. Like we talked about in my last article, weight loss or weight gain is all about calories in and calories out. If you increase your calories out during the day by walking, you are likely to lose weight even without changing your diet.
2. Increase insulin sensitivity. If you perform three 10-minute walks after your three main meals during the day, you can increase insulin sensitivity by up to 30%. Increased insulin sensitivity will aid in lower blood sugar, reduced insulin, and helping improve symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.
3. Better than blood pressure medication. Many studies across many countries have come to the same conclusion that walking is twice as effective on humans as taking blood pressure medication.
4. Sitting disease. The disease of sitting can be a whole different article, but for now studies have shown we cannot undo the detriment of sitting all day by performing one long walk at night. By performing 10-minute walks throughout the day, it gets you moving more frequently, and doesn’t allow you to sit for such long periods of time.
5. Compliance. It is much easier to stay compliant with three short walks, than it is the monotony of a long walk at the end of your day.
When it comes to fitness, compliance is the ultimate key! The best exercise program for you, is the one you will do, and the best diet is the one that you will follow. The final positive note is for the avid gym goers: if you suffer from DOMS, or sore muscles, short walks can increase blood flow, nutrients to those sore muscles, and oxygen levels, so that you recover quicker.
How do you add 10-minute walks to your daily routine?
As noted previously, if you perform your three 10-minute walks after your three main meals of the day you will get the most benefits from them. After eating is also the easiest time to do these, because when you think about it what do most people do after a meal? Most of us sit on the couch in regret because we over ate. Not only will walking after meals keep you from sitting on the couch, but if you know that you are going for a walk after your meal, you will be less likely to overeat. If you dine out, on your way out you can walk down the block for five minutes, turn around and head to your car or if you are traveling you can walk around the airport or rest stop.
If you implement these short walks in to your daily routine, along with obtaining a calorie deficit, I promise that you will see the results that you are looking for in the upcoming new year. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.