More than 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates said, “Walking is a man’s best medicine”. Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. It is a form of exercise and ideal for people of all ages to maintain fitness levels and become more active.
Walking is a great way to improve or maintain our health. Just 30 minutes walk everyday can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce risk of heart disease, type II diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis and some cancers.
Walking for Calorie Burning :
Walking is a calorie burning activity. Body weight and distance covered determines the calories burnt while walking. The speed of walking is more important than the distance covered. A rule of thumb is 100 calories per mile (1.6Km) are burnt for a 180 pound (81kg) person and 65 calories per mile (1.6Km) for a 120 pound (54Kg) person. The speed of walking a mile (1.6Km) in 13 minutes or less, will burn more calories per mile. But for most beginners, it is best to increase the distance before working on speed.
A linear relationship exits at walking speed, oxygen consumption and calorie burnt. When the walking speed is more, oxygen consumption increases and more calories are burnt. A walker’s speed 10Km per hour consumes oxygen 40ml/Kg/min, one litre of oxygen equals five calories, so, 80 kg walker utilize 192 litres oxygen in one hour i.e. 192 x 5 =960 Kcal burnt.
Body mass can be used to predict energy expenditure with reasonable accuracy when walking on a firm level surface (road, track or grass). The amount of calories required to walk 1 Km equals the weight in Kg (walker of 80 Kg will burn 80 Kcal/Km).
Calorie burn depends on body weight, walking speed and time. A 60 kg man’s walking speed and calorie burn shows in the following table.
|Walking||4 Km/hr||210 Kcal/hr|
|Walking||9 Km/hr||640 Kcal/hr|
|Walking||10 Km/hr||740 Kcal/hr|
|Walking||12 Km/hr||860 Kcal/hr|
The easiest way to walk more is to make walking a habit by including in our daily routine e.g.
- Doing a regular walk.
- Walking in dinning hall before go to bed.
- Walking to the shop.
- Using the stairs instead of lift.
Health benefits of walking:-
- Helps to maintain body weight and desired body composition.
- Helps to reduce body fat and increase lean body mass.
- Helps to gain muscle mass, muscle strength and stamina.
- Helps to build strong bones, muscle and strengthen joints.
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases, such as type II diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis and some cancers.
- Increases level of HDL (good cholesterol).
- Wards off depression.
- Improves mood, sense of well-being and self esteem.