While everyone agrees that walking is fantastic for you, keeping you in good cardiovascular health as well as helping to tone and strengthen muscles, tendons, and ligaments as well as maintain good bone health, its close relative, jogging, may have more drawbacks than benefits when it comes to maintaining health over the years as you age.
Basic science says that the harder you work your body, the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn, the more weight you potentially lose. The problem is there is a lot more to the equation than just calorie burn.
When you are young, your body is strong, your heart is healthy, and exercise by running or jogging, bringing your heart rate up to near its maximum capacity for a time isn’t an issue. As we age that maximum capacity begins to drop. When you go too hard and your heart pumps at too high of a heart rate you aren’t just burning unwanted fat – you are also causing your body to go after the muscle. This is why you see so many runners who are not fat by any means, but their body composition is often that of a “skinny fat” person. Meaning they are lean but squishy.
To gain the maximum benefit a fast walk is far better for your body overall keeping your heart rate in the fat burning range of 132-142 vs the higher rates jogging and running bring on.
Have you ever noticed people at your gym – you see the same people repeatedly for months and even years and not much difference in the way they look, if any, despite a heck of a lot of effort. Long bouts of cardiovascular exercise can actually accelerate the aging process. Why? Because it increases free radicals. These free radicals are scavengers that prey on your body’s tissue and nutrients. Unless you are training for a marathon, most gym goers are overdoing it on the cardio, especially if running or jogging. It is hard on your joints from your ankles, knees, hips, all the way up to jarring your shoulders and neck repeatedly.
The other issue playing into this is a nationwide problem with dehydration. Water actually helps you burn fat and suppress hunger. Drinking a gallon a day can take years off your appearance, help you drop extra fat, save your liver and kidneys from working over time chronically, and allow you to have more energy. The liver is your number one fat burning organ and if it is chronically overwhelmed with toxins, it cannot fully do its job and that extra fat will stick.
The answer: HIIT cardio. High-Intensity Interval Training. This involves no running. HIIT has been shown to burn more fat, keep your heart healthy, and save your joints. HIIT essentially goes back and forth between high and low heart rate. This gives the biggest fat burn.
To Do HIIT training – it can be done outside with no equipment, on a treadmill, an elliptical, a bike, a lateral machine, or even a rowing machine. Start out with 30-second intervals. Start slow and warm up. Then begin to alternate between 30 seconds all out at a good pace nice and fast (you can even crank up the grade or level) and then bring it back down to almost nothing allowing your heart to relax and slow back down. Repeat over and over again for 10-15 minutes.
If you intend to do weight training that day as well, do the weight training first rather than the HIIT cardio. You will have more energy and feel less worn out at the end.
For more health tips – check back soon!
Chiropractor | Nutritionist in Ft Myers, FL
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