Is walking enough?
“I don’t really need to exercise, I walk a lot!”
We hear this quite a lot and it’s fabulous that people are moving/walking regularly. Walking is a safe, accessible form of activity that has numerous health benefits including:
Stronger heart and lungs so reduced risk of heart disease
Better management of high blood pressure
Reduced risk of high cholesterol
Better blood sugar management so reduced risk of Type II diabetes
Reduced body fat
We’re delighted when people tell us they walk every day and we’d encourage those that don’t already to take it up. It’s something nearly everyone can do even if you start with short walks and build up over time.
And you knew a but was coming, didn’t you?
The WHO (World Health Organisation) recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week (there’s your walking) AND resistance exercise 2 times a week using the major muscle groups.
It’s not an either/or, it’s as well as.
So unless you’re adding walking lunges, squats, lifting heavy gates open and closed and doing the odd pull-up on convenient branches then you do need to add some exercise to your activity routine.
As great as it is to have a strong heart and lungs to keep you alive, they’re not going to stay that way for long if you don’t have the muscle strength to get out of a chair and keep walking. Or if you were to fall because you don’t have the reaction speeds you need to right yourself when you stumble (down to lack of muscle strength) and you can’t get back up because you’re not strong enough, or worse, you break a hip because you don’t have the muscle padding to protect your bones!
Ok, we’re painting a bit of bleak picture here but if you don’t do some form of resistance training on a regular basis then that’s your future! It’s very easily avoided though. Just two sessions a week and you can ensure you’re strong enough to stay independent and active.
You might be thinking you don’t need to worry about this yet but the simple truth is that the sooner you start building your muscle strength, the easier it will be to maintain it. Having said that, it’s never too late to start. You can make positive changes at any age.
We naturally start losing muscle mass as we age and from about age 50 onwards we’re losing approx. 1% a year. It’s really, really simple to prevent that loss though. Two strength training sessions a week and you can protect and even improve your lean muscle mass.
If you’re already in your 60s or 70s and you haven’t been strength training then the sooner you start, the better and the more you can improve your future outlook. If you’re much younger, then lucky you, you can start avoid the natural process of sarcopenia (muscle wasting) that occurs.
Two half hour sessions a week, for a future that’s stronger, more active, independent and just plain better!
Choose a stronger future.