What Is The Most Under Rated Tool For Weight Loss?
The most frequently asked question I get is... How much is too much exercise? How much exercise is too little for weight loss?
The big part of the answer is that everyone is designed differently, there really is no one side fits all, we all have different body composition, metabolic needs, hormone, fitness and diet histories, all of these things come into play when structuring how much cardio exercise is enough and how much is too much.
I like to ask my clients, What is your fitness history? What is your diet history? How many calories have you been eating? Have you been doing cardio, if so what type of cardio, what length and how often?
It is not adequate to provide a standard protocol to every person, we are all unique and have very unique bodies that function differently!
Cardio is not always the answer for sustainable weight loss, we have been taught over the years that cardio and more cardio leads to weight loss.
An example is an hour of cardio, say running at high intensity everyday will work for a limited amount of time, you will lose a few pounds, then your body will adjust and that one hour of cardio will no longer work for weight loss. So then what do we do? We do what we have been taught, which is to increase the amount, duration and the intensity of exercise, when in reality we need to offer time for our bodies to recover and replenish.
So what is the most underrated form of cardio?
And the answer is...
WALKING! This is the most underrated form of cardio! Movement of our bodies should be slow and joyful, you should be able to enjoy cardio.
Walking has several and I mean several benefits, just to name a few.. walking leads to the release of the body's natural happy drugs — endorphins. Walkers who walk at a brisk walking pace to raise their heart rate will notice this effect more than those who walk at a slower heart rate pace. But even at a slower pace, most people notice an improvement in mood.
7 Benefits of Walking (There are many more beyond this list!)
1. It's low-impact.
2. It can be done anywhere.
3. You can do it in a group or solo.
4.It increases brainpower by increasing dopamine and reducing cortisol.
5.It improves heart health, think lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running, according to the American Heart Association.
6.It's good for your mind. in nature has been linked to improved mental health by increasing dopamine and reducing cortisol levels in just 20 minutes.
7.It decreases the risk of illness such as stroke, coronary heart disease, depression and other life-threatening conditions
It can be hard to find the time to stay active with the busy days we have. The average American actually spends nine to 10 hours of their day sitting, and certain occupations, spend closer to 12 hours a day sitting (yikes!). This is a scary statistic when you consider that sitting for more than eight hours a day is associated with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, along with increased risks of heart disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality.
In conclusion, if you are pushing yourself through high intensity, long cardio sessions, slow down and allow your body recovery time with walking and strength training, this will allow for replenishment , lower cortisol levels and increase your body’s natural happy drugs allowing your body and mind time to respond for sustainable weight loss.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and start walking!