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Walk—don’t run—to health

Why does walking get such a bad rap?

Health walk do not run image


Why does walking get such a bad rap? I often hear children making fun of their parents for walking instead of running. They tell their parents that walking is not a workout because they don't sweat when they are walking.


If people are walking for the calorie burn, walking a mile and running a mile burn roughly the same number of calories. The difference is about 10 to 20 calories. Also, if you are walking for cardiovascular health, walking is great for your heart. According to meta-analysis study by Harvard University, walking for 30 minutes a day can lower the risk of heart disease by 18 percent. Therefore, the argument that walking isn't as effective of an exercise just doesn't hold up. 


Deuteronomy 13:5 says, "Walk after the Lord, your God," meaning strive to be closer to God. We are supposed to walk instead of running to be closer to God because we should take our time and not rush our growing process. The same applies for our health. Being healthy is something we should strive for every day. 


I understand the appeal of running-it's fun! Blood pumps through our bodies and we get a wonderful runners' high. It is good for you to run once in a while; however, if done every day our bodies start to fall apart. I often hear people say, "I was running on the treadmill for 60 minutes." They say it with such excitement and pride. I just don't understand why that is a good thing. Why is pounding the pavement for an hour beneficial? People will also say I work out seven days a week. Usually those workouts consist of running five miles a day. Again I don't understand how this is healthy. Our bodies aren't made to keep running. People develop plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, torn ligaments, or broken bones from too much activity. A healthy active lifestyle has variation.


Switching up your routine and incorporating walking or hiking as well other physical activities will help preserve your body.  Being gentle on your body while exercising is important to ensuring we can be active for the rest of our lives.  


I always tell people to walk to the grocery store, to a friend's house, or even to the gym. The more miles of walking you add to your week the better. 


Remember don't be so negative about walking. It allows us to see more nature, have better conversations with loved ones, and be kinder to our bodies. Sometimes, we should test our bodies and workout harder, but we shouldn't feel like lighter workouts aren't healthy for us. It is just as healthy and in the long run might even be healthier. 


Dana Fine is owner of Dana Fine Acupuncture, LLC in Northbrook.


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