Get ready to transform your approach to health and fitness!

brain health healthy living mindful movement morning practice strength training stress-free Mar 08, 2024

Are you ready to take your well-being to new heights?

As you know, the Big Four daily actions are nutrition, sleep, stress management and exercise.

And exercise involves fine-tuning the right combination of the different forms of movement for your body.

Together, we'll explore the transformative power of exercise and how it can elevate your health.

Exercise can be categorized into three types: aerobic, anaerobic and mobility

Aerobic exercises like walking and cycling enhance heart and lung function, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help shed those extra pounds. 

Anaerobic exercises, such as weight lifting, build muscle strength, improve joint health, and boost bone density.  We’ll talk more about those next week.

Mobility exercises, like stretching and some forms of yoga, keep your muscles supple and your joints flexible.  Stay tuned in 2 weeks for this discussion!

Exercise isn't just about breaking a sweat; it's about boosting your overall health and well-being. 

From enhancing heart and lung function to reducing the risk of heart disease, exercise brings a wealth of benefits, including helping you shed those extra pounds and improving metabolic function. 

That means it can be as simple and inexpensive as buying a good pair of running shoes and establishing a habit of taking a daily walk.  

Bonus:  Grab a friend to act as your accountability partner, or join a walking group for even more social engagement!

Walking For Fitness - Is It Really Enough?

And yet walking often gets a bad rap when it comes to fitness. A lot of fitness pros may even scoff at the idea of a walk being a “true” workout. You may even find yourself feeling like a bit of a slacker on the days you choose to walk rather than do a higher intensity workout.

But, many experts do agree that not only does walking yield a ton of health benefits, it also improves your overall fitness too.

So, before you go ditching those comfy walking shoes, let’s learn how the experts are weighing in on the link between walking and better fitness. 

Walking & Aerobic Fitness 

When it comes to improving your heart health, look no further than a brisk walk around the block.  In fact, one study showed that walking briskly for only 30 minutes a day can significantly improve V02 max – this is the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise.

In addition to improving aerobic fitness, walking has also been shown to reduce risk factors linked to cardiovascular disease. Reduced blood pressure, BMI, waist circumference and overall body fat were among some of the benefits to adopting a regular walking routine.

Short on time? You can still reap the cardiovascular benefits of walking by performing 3 bouts of 10-minute intervals. Basically, every little bit counts, so keep that body in motion whenever you can!

Walking for strength gains & strong bones

While walking certainly isn’t going to give you the shredded muscular physique of a bodybuilder,  it still packs a big punch when it comes to maintaining your muscle mass.  One study looked at the benefits of walking amongst older adults and its impact on muscle mass. 

Researchers found that those who performed higher amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity (such as walking) significantly reduced their risk of sarcopenia -- a condition defined as the loss of muscle mass and function (muscle wasting or “frailty syndrome”), commonly seen in older adults.

There’s also evidence that walking can keep your bones strong too. Because walking is a weight bearing activity, it helps maintain bone density and strength.

Intensity matters!

While walking is hugely beneficial for overall health and wellbeing, we may need to pick up the pace.  

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) recommends adults between the ages of 18-64 perform 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous exercise.

Brisk walking is one of the many activities recommended, but as CSEP outlines, the intensity is also important. 

“Moderate-intensity physical activities will cause adults to sweat a little and to breathe harder. Vigorous-intensity physical activities will cause adults to sweat and be out of breath.”
~ Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

Keep an eye on your intensity by using ‘the talk test’. You should be able to talk, but carrying on a conversation may be challenging. If you’re able to talk at leisure, it’s time to up the pace ;)

Make the most of your walking workout

You can get the most bang for your walking workout by making just a few small tweaks: 

For example, try varying the terrain of your outdoor walk or even adding hills to your usual treadmill routine.

And, the best way to get results from a walking program? 

In one word, consistency. 

If you can’t fit in a “formal” workout, focus on walking as much as you can, whenever you can.  Make walking part of your everyday routine and you’ll reap those fitness benefits in no time.  

So, lace up those sneakers and get ready to discover how exercise can transform your life.  

Remember, the path to a healthier you starts with a single step!

Home Practice this week ~ Take a Walk!

  • Start with a smaller goal, maybe just around the block, but being consistent.  Over time, extend your time and distance.
  • Download an app or use a pedometer to keep track of your progress
  • Make an appointment with yourself at a specific time, every day, to make it a habit and avoid distractions
  • Enlist a family member, friend, neighbour, or a 4-legged companion to keep you company

And of course in winter, take advantage of outdoor activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing - because they count too!

For more info on this and other natural health topics:

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