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Benefits of walking

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When it comes to exercise, we often think that more is better and there may be some solid truth and research to back that up; however, there’s also a lot of truth and research to back up walking, and in particular, walking up hill.  

Photo by Mika Matin via Unsplash

I’m not a big runner.  I have been in the past, but those days are long behind me and following my friend Steve’s motto of “run only when chased,” I thankfully don’t find myself breaking out into a run very often!  I do however walk regularly and have begun a more intensive process of using the treadmill at the gym to walk with a consistent uphill incline, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve been blown away by the effects.

What I’ve found is that when I maintain the incline to above 10 degrees, and maintain a pace of above 5km/hr (brisk walking speed) it turns into a pretty intense workout.  I have been doing it for about 20 mins after workouts or for 30 minutes on days when i’m not lifting weights.  I’m really enjoying it.

A couple of things to consider about walking  

Walking limits the impact stress that running provides.  When you’re taking flight (as you do when you run) you’re always going to be landing on each step with more force than when you’re walking.  I do believe that over time (and potentially in the short term as well) that this is unnecessary stress to the joints of the lower body and spine.  I personally don’t think that the benefits outweigh the damage, and would therefore prefer to walk with intensity to save the impact injury.

Photo by Anika Huizinga via Unsplash

Getting outside and walking or hiking is fantastic.  But there is a BIG difference between going for a 30 minute walk on Dallas Rd. or walking to the top of Mt. Doug in 30 minutes.  If you are interested in having an intense workout related to walking you have to provide the incline.  If you can make it to Mt. Doug or have other hikes in mind that include some consistent incline, then you are on your way.  If you’re like me and want the intensity but don’t always make it consistently to an outdoor hiking area, then the treadmill can be a nice substitute for you so that you can maintain consistency.

The concepts of physically “working out” involve stressing the body beyond what it is doing on a day to day basis to force it to recognize and adapt to the new more intense stress.  The goal of “getting in shape” is to regularly stress the body above and beyond what it is used to so that OVER TIME these adaptations show up in the form of greater strength and ability.  Consistency and patience are both very important and necessary to make these changes.

If you’re starting out this new year with a new physical goal in mind, please, please, please, don’t forget that you mind is also important in achieving those physical goals.  Understand that you need to be consistent over a 3-4 week period before you’ll be able to see the benefits.  You’ve got to get over that first hurdle before you’ll feel and see results that may be the inspiration for continued consistency.  Far too many people stop too soon and miss out on the benefits.  

If you have any questions I’m more than happy to try to answer them.
Leave a comment and we’ll help with your 2019 goals.

Dr. Matthew Kittleson
UC Life Chiropractic Centre
1-1113 Langley St. Victoria
250 386-5433
www.uclife.ca

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