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Walking May Have Some Limits

By Rachel Carver

This headline might make you raise your eyebrows. Everything else you read encourages you to walk more, so how exactly could walking have any downsides?

Regular walking can improve your mood, help combat high blood pressure, and keep you active without straining the body. However, too much of a good thing has the potential to become unhealthy like other forms of exercise.

If you are starting to think you cannot take another step, if you are not seeing results, or if you are stressing because you cannot do more, it might be time for a change. While completely eliminating your walking routine is not the answer, these feelings probably mean you need a different approach.

When Can Walking Become Too Much?

This differs for everyone. But it is possible to reach a point where your will to walk becomes unhealthy.

General walking for overall fitness usually does not result in too much training. However, walking for weight loss can sometimes lead to obsessive behavior, stressing your system. When this happens, you start depending on walking to burn calories. Walking after every meal may lead to negative consequences such as heightened cortisol or an altered metabolic rate.

Regular exercise boosts your mood and is an important part of overall health and wellness. But if you can't take a rest day or become stressed if you miss one workout, you're not being healthy.

Walk Faster, Not Longer

If you decide to walk to help with weight loss, speed is usually better than more time. Slow walking does not burn as many calories as speed walking. Your increased heart rate will burn glycogen as you breathe harder. But your calorie and fat burn will go up.

Speed walking doesn't mean running. Aim for a 17- to 20-minute mile. You should still be able to speak in short sentences.

Speed walking is also great for those days when you only have time for a short workout or when you do not have good weather. If you are just starting your walking regimen, take things slow. You want to get your heart rate up, but you do not want to injure yourself or get discouraged.

The Bottom Line

Look at exercise as part of your health and wellness routine. Build recovery days into your week; you need them. Listen to your body. Increase your walking pace on your terms. And don't become dependent on walking to keep you happy.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Flowery Branch, Ga.

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