When you establish a solid walking program to meet your fitness and weight loss goals, you need to understand that it is about more than just walking. Being mindful of your activity and enjoying it can boost results.
Sarah Kusch, a Los Angeles based fitness pro, states, “Sometimes we believe certain things or tell ourselves certain things about walking and don’t even realize that they’re counterproductive for helping us meet our goals.”
There are some walking myths that Kusch wants people to better understand. Here are four of the most important ones:
Myth 1: Walking must be a workout!
Although walking can be a terrific workout because it does increase your heart rate, burn calories, and reduce stress, Kusch states, “The trap many people fall into is always thinking you have to go big or go home. And if they don’t have time to go for 30 or 60 minutes, then they don’t go at all.”
Even if you can’t fit in a full workout, you can still benefit from just a few minutes. Even small workouts add up to great benefits. You can break up a 30-minute workout into three small workouts and still improve your blood pressure, increase your fitness, and lower blood sugar levels.
Myth 2: You must walk 10,000 steps per day!
When you are overly concerned about weight loss and what the scale says, Kusch says, “Some people are really motivated by having a goal, but I worry that focusing on a number too much can backfire. At the end of the day, you may be more focused on how many steps you didn’t take instead of how many you did, and that can be a big blow to your motivation.”
A recent study published in the journal BMJ found that although reaching the 10,000 step goal can lead to major improvements in insulin sensitivity and reductions in BMI, all you have to do is increase your steps by 2,000, and, even if you don’t reach 10,000 steps, you are still benefitting. Worry less about the target and more about continuing to improve, and you are more likely to stay motivated.
Myth 3: Only intervals lead to results!
Sure, adding some speed work will boost your calorie burn and help to increase fitness. Kusch cautions, “But if you don’t enjoy doing intervals or speed walking hurts your knees, then don’t do it.” It is more important that you enjoy the walking, so that you keep doing it. If you like walking outside or prefer walking with a friend to walking alone, it’s okay to go slower as long as you get out regularly if you want to see results.
Myth 4: Jogging is better than walking.
Many people think that walking is not as good as jogging, but this is not true. You are not falling short of your goals if you are walking and not jogging.
According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory examined nearly 50,000 participants, showed that running reduced blood pressure by more than 4%, high cholesterol by more than 4%, diabetes by 12%, and heart disease by 5%. By burning the same number of calories while walking, the risk of high blood pressure was reduced by more than 7%, high cholesterol by 7%, diabetes by more than 12%, and heart disease by 9%.
Walking should not make you feel like you are not reaching your goals, but instead be viewed as a terrific way to exercise and increase your fitness.