No walk in the park

by Khushboo on January 5, 2011


When people ask me “Do you miss London”, one of the first things I reply is “Besides my friends, I miss being able to walk”.   One of London’s assets is the freedom to walk places with or without a destination in mind.  The fresh air combined with the rush of endorphins is enough to boost any mood.  In fact, when I spent 2 months of summer in London, I actually had no desire to join a gym.  With Hyde Park practically being my backyard, I wanted to make the most of it…and you better believe I did!

Of course there are parks here in Mumbai but the thought of having to first drive there takes away the appeal.  This morning, however, I decided to venture on the streets.  It was the perfect way to fit in a workout without having to enter the gym.  With winter being in full swing in Mumbai, the weather was ideal.  Before you people in London laugh, I swear it’s cold: I’m constantly wrapped in a shawl or wearing a cardigan! 8)

I hate to admit it but I used to consider walking as being an inferior form of exercise compared to running.  Although running obviously burns calories quicker than does walking, both get your legs moving and heart pounding.  Both are therefore effective.  It’s just a matter of deciding what your goal is.  If it’s to train for a race or to stay conditioned to a high-intensity sport, walking is probably not an equal substitute.  But if you want to burn fat and improve your health, walking can be just as practical. 

Whether you walk a mile or run a mile, you’re still going to burn X number of calories.  You may burn 300 calories quicker with running but as long as you’re willing to go the distance, walking can produce the same results.  Also for many people, walking tends to be easier then running, which means they end up moving for a longer period of time.  During that extra time, the body begins to utilize a larger percentage of stored fat over stored glycogen (burn those carbs, baby! ;)).

Before I go on, please don’t confuse the terms ‘walk’ and ‘stroll’.  The former is what targets fat loss i.e. it’s what raises your heart rate and improves your cardiovascular abilities significantly.  The way your body has no clue about the time at which you eat, the same goes for your heart.  So long as you’re requiring effort and exertion from your body, the heart is not concerned about the type of exercise being performed. 

In terms of muscles, walking is definitely easier on the joints.  A walker’s foot lands with only 1.5 times the force of body weight whereas running tends to put 3 times the force on your feet.  Despite occurring at a slower pace, walking will still give your muscles a workout.  Walking is enough to build, shape, and tone your legs, hips, and buttocks. From your calves to your hamstrings, quads, abs, hips, and arms/shoulders, walking is sure to work something.  Is that not ass-some awesome?  

Can you tell I enjoyed my walk this morning? It was no Hyde Park but it certainly was a good one.  It also meant I got my daily dose of Vitamin D, which is never a bad thing :D!

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