Walking Club Check-In: Walking Can Be Even Healthier than Running

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Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Walking can outpace more vigorous exercise.Welcome, or welcome back, to the Dr. Sinatra Walking Club. If you missed the "official introduction," you can see it here. Each Saturday, I post a new Walking Club Check-in, where you can post your minutes walked, the number of times you walked, or miles by leaving a comment.

Some of you may remember my blog post back in April, titled Walking is Very Powerful Exercise. In that post, I shared Dr. Sinatra's research that found that moderate activity (walking) is actually superior to vigorous activity for expending energy.

Here's another reason that moderate activity outpaces more vigorous exercise...

Years back, as part of a research study, Dr. Sinatra performed exercise stress tests on middle-aged male runners. He was impressed with their conditioning, but noticed that most them looked older than their ages, with wrinkles on their faces and premature baldness. This disturbed Dr. Sinatra. He also noticed that these men had considerable discomfort when they exercised intensely. He could tell by the grimaces on their faces that they were in pain.

Later, in one of his psychotherapy training workshops, Dr. Sinatra realized what these men were telling him: strenuous exercise hardens you emotionally. Just think of how strenuous exercise distorts and stresses your facial features and skin if it makes you grimace intensely for an hour. That's going on internally, too.

As Dr. Sinatra explains it, these men were living proof that intense exercise ages, stresses, and injures your body's tissues because it creates free radicals, which we know are factors in heart disease, other illnesses, and in aging itself. These free radicals form because during exercise, we break down our muscular tissue and cellular membranes.

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules produced in your body during normal metabolism. They damage your cells by causing oxidation, similar to the browning of the flesh of a cut apple exposed to the air. Normally, your body compensates for this and repairs its cells. Intense exercise, however, can overwhelm your body's natural antioxidant system so that it can't counteract the increased flood of free radicals.

So, there you have it--another powerful reason to keep up your walking program.

Did you walk this week? Go ahead and leave a comment with your time, hours, or miles walked. If you're just starting your walking program, please go ahead and share that too.

Have a wonderful Saturday--and Happy Walking!

Karen

Please remember to consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.


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