Hello friends! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, and I feel like so much has happened, while still, not much has changed at all!
For anyone that is new in town, I’m currently pregnant, 30 weeks on Friday, and this has been the longest pregnancy ever! I’m starting to get to the point, where I’m counting down the weeks, not just so I can meet my little man, but I can start to feel better!
In my last pregnancy update post, I let you know that I was recently diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. It’s been a bit of a hurdle, but it’s pushed me to be my healthiest, and although I am now on insulin for fasting levels, I’m trying my best to stick to the recommendations and try to take it easy as well!
I don’t know what ‘taking it easy’ really classifies as when you have an almost 4 year old running around, but he’s just started attending Kindergarten this week, and it is aahhh-maaahh-zing!
I can’t even describe the feeling of having 10 minutes of quiet, let alone 6 hours 3 days a week.
Having this free time has given me a chance to get prepared (cause I’ve only got 2 more months before it’s unloading time!!), and to get some well needed study in. I’m crunching down my Health Coaching studies so I can be qualified before the baby comes. Here’s to hoping! Fingers crossed!
And alongside, I’m trying to cram in some daily walking, to ease the weight gain, and keep myself healthy!
Seriously though, trying to walk at this point — its a fight when you’re carrying an extra load out front.
So amongst all this ‘change’, and doing my studies, I stumbled upon some interesting information which I HAD TO share with you all, and nag my friends about, because I think it could make the world of difference for anyone, who is like me, trying their best to keep to a weight loss journey (pregnancy aside).
The Benefits of Walking..
Now if you are just starting out with a weight management program, or you really haven’t exercised in AGES (like me haha), walking is the best answer! It is low impact on your joints, while still increasing your heart rate to allow for calorie burning, and movement to improve your fitness.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Walk, as stated by MedicineNet.com.
- Walking prevents Type 2 Diabetes – walking just 150 minutes per week, and reducing 7% of overall body fat, can reduce your risk by 58%. Whattt! just with walking?
- Walking strengthens your heart, if you’re male – will reduce mortality rate if you walk more than 2 miles a day (3.2km to us aussies!)
- Walking strengthens your heart, if you’re female – walking three hours or more a week can reduce your risk of heart attack by 35%.
- Walking is good for your brain – better thinking power, and less brain fogginess! Woo!
- Walking is good for your bones – Walking may slow down the rate of bone loss in the legs in older individuals.
- Walking helps alleviate symptoms of depression – Reduced symptoms by 47% with lifestyle change – it’s not just the fresh air and sunshine!
- Walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer – 18% decreased risk of breast cancer compared to inactive women, and exercise can prevent colon cancer – improving quality of life and mortality rate.
- Walking improves fitness – significantly improves cardiorespiratory fitness – that’s strengthening your heart and getting blood and oxygen pumping properly around your body!
- Walking in short bouts improves fitness, too! – Short is just as good as long at increasing fat loss! (Just you wait til you read below)
- Walking improves physical function – It can help to prevent physical disability in older individuals.
Now, they are some good reasons to get up right now, stop reading and start walking! Ok, maybe not yet – keep reading til the end and then go!
I promise it’s worth it! The motivation continues!
But where do you start?
Starting an exercise routine all depends on your current lifestyle, habits, fitness level, health restrictions and financial costs.
One of the best things about walking is it is really super cheap – besides a good pair of shoes, and some comfortable clothing (preferably sweats), most individuals can fit 10-30 minutes into their daily routine, without risking their health, or their pocket.
As always, before starting an exercise routine, especially if you have health restrictions or concerns, it is best to talk to your doctor before commencing to ensure it is right for you, and to prevent injury.
It is always best to start slow, so at first, try a 10-15 minute walk each day, and see how you feel, before boosting from there to aim for a 30 minute walk each day, 5 days a week, or every day. If you can’t crunch out a 30 minute sesh at once, try breaking it down into 2 x 15 minutes. You could fit one in on your work lunch break, and try one after work or after dinner. Whatever will work around your routine!
That’s what’s so great about walking – you can do it anywhere, any time!
But, here’s the thing.
What if I told you that you could really amp up the benefits of walking for weight management and improved health, just by changing up the routine a little?
I stumbled across some interesting information during my studies, and I’m gonna share it with you. This is something I will be incorporating into my walking routine once bubs is out, as a safe postnatal exercise til I’m good and ready to get back into the hard stuff!
First though, some evidence!
Researchers at the University of Virginia were doing a study on walking with a group of women, looking at fat loss, and the rate of fat loss.
They found that women who did 3 shorter, faster-paced walks a week, accompanying 2 longer moderate-paced walks, lost 5 times more belly fat than those who simply participated in 5 days of long moderate-paced walks, even though they both burnt the same amount of calories (400) (Ref)
WHAT. GET MY RUNNING SHOES ON, I’M GOING BRISK WALKING!
You might not think much of it, but this is almost a go-to card for easier exercising. I will take shorter exercise over longer exercise any day, and this is 3 out of 5 days!Confession. Emily and exercise don’t mix. I hate it! It’s a behaviour I’m trying to crunch.
To make these findings even better, I want to share with you this knowledge.
Belly fat = visceral fat.
Visceral fat is what I call “unfriendly fat”. Yes, fat on the body is fat, none the less, but the reason we stock up on fat at times is for survival, to keep us warm and to keep us nourished in times of famine, aka. friendly (not ‘necessary’ though, *wink*)
HOWEVER, visceral fat – fat around the middle – is the dangerous fat, which surrounds organs like the liver and kidneys, and can contribute towards diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure among many other health conditions.
Back to the evidence.
The ladies in the study who power walked, lost more than two inches from their waistlines, 3 times more fat from their thighs, 4 times more body fat, and lost almost 8 pounds (3.5kg) in the study – all without dieting. They also lost 3 times more visceral fat, and increased their afterburn (calories burnt post exercise), by about 47% compared with lower-intensity workouts. (Ref)
Now, I don’t know about you, but I was staggered by those findings. That is a dramatic change in fat loss, especially the fat loss you really want for overall improvement of health (the unfriendly fat, remember), for such a small change in exercise routine!
It really amps up the Top 10 Benefits of Walking now doesn’t it!!
So, how do you boost your walking?
As I said before, start slow if you’re a beginner, and start to increase your time to 30 minutes, 5 times a week.
Then, from there, you can start to brisk walk, which is picking up the pace of walking, while pumping your arms for momentum to push forward further, almost to the point of jogging.
You want to achieve this point of brisk walking, and you can amp it up by add on some wrist or leg weights for some extra strength training to burn more calories as you walk!
Aim to brisk walk for shorter times, maybe between 15-20 minutes, three days a week, and a normal 30 minute walking pace the other two days.
Tip: A trick to move faster, is to listen to faster paced music! It will keep you pushing forward, and lift up your mood in the mean time to crunch out that 30 minutes!
Later on, you can always try jogging as an option to further increase your strength and stamina, but this is a higher impact exercise option for your joints.
You can even try Nordic Walking – which is the use of ski-like poles. They help to move your arms and walk faster, without you realising the extra energy you are burning.
Find walking boring?
Pair it up with some good tunes – get your favourite tunes on your phone or ipod, and get grooving!
Grab some good pals – you never know just how motivational a friend can be until you have to get up early to exercise, because they are already on their way, or you don’t want to disappoint them! Plus, they keep you walking fast too, a conversation won’t be missed if you keep up the pace together!
Create a challenge for yourself – the longer you can walk, or the faster you can walk.
Switch up the scenery – get out in the sun! You don’t always have to stick to the treadmill, or your usual around-the-block walk.
There is seriously nothing better than a beach walk, and the sand under your feet really creates a higher-intensity walk while still being somewhat of a lower impact on your joints.
Make sure to watch your symptoms!
Don’t push yourself if it’s too much. Slow and steady can win the race! Walking for 60-75 minutes a week, alone, can lower your risk of premature death by 19%.
Make walking your best friend! Any amount of exercise is better than being sedentary.
Seriously, I’m half way out the door right now…
I’ll be testing this theory from June onwards for a time of 2 months to see how the affects are on my body, for a postnatal exercise regime, alongside one of my good buds who will be joining me! So if you’d like to see how that goes, click the subscribe button on the right and stay tuned!
If you liked this blog post, and found it worth your while, please let me know! I love to hear from you, and what you think works best for you! If you have any of your own tips worth adding in, please share as well! It may just help somebody on their health journey – even me!
Before changing any health and lifestyle habits, please consult your practitioner. This is not health advice, but merely a reference of healthy activities and what they can do for the body, but each body is different.