Updated: Dec 20, 2018
I have always been the first to live by the Motto
“Why Walk When You Can Go For A Run”!
By running I believed that I could go twice as far in half the time compared to walking, I could see more burn twice the calories and get fitter faster!!
I am 100% Sure that there are many of you currently thinking the same and therefore set to skip this piece of lame advice??!!
However PLEASE hold your thoughts for 2 minutes and continue to read. Several years ago I was just the same with my thinking, an Ultra Runner, GB Duathlete, Ironman and Competitive Crossfit Athlete, Walking was not on my agenda and definitely not included in my Training Plan.
Age however, although it might be trying to destroy many of my assets, has bought about some experience and improved wisdom and although I most definitely still run I now fully appreciate that there is a time and place for a walk and that it provides many benefits that running cannot.
In fact I am so surprised by my own revelation and how much better I feel and perform now that I include walking as much as possible that I thought I should put pen to paper and write a Blog about it.
If you are like I WAS then you probably won’t feel that you are exercising or getting a beneficial workout unless your sweat is dripping, your heart is pounding and you are fighting the urge to vomit with the rapidly accumulating lactic acid building up.
Please take note from this Performance Coach however, when he urges you that ‘NOT EVERY EXERCISE SESSION’ needs to incorporate High Intensity.
I am still that competitive man above and I still have aspirations to prove myself one of the fittest in the world for my age but I have now come to realise that Walking is beneficial in many aspects and not just for those who like me are over the age of 40, but instead for EVERYONE, Young, Old, Recreational exerciser or Athlete It is critical throughout our life and especially as we get older to control the levels of cortisol In the body, which if left unchecked will lead to chronic inflammation and then onto chronic illness.
When we are young the release of adrenalin and cortisol in the classic Fight or Flight syndrome helps us overcome our daily challenges in life. However after years and years of fighting these daily challenges and continuously managing stressful situations combined with putting our body under huge levels of stress with our chosen physical challenges, this results in our poor bodies being flooded with cortisol for TOO MANY YEARS. This IS NOT GOOD!
In this fast paced world of racing to every appointment, meeting and deadline in our 24/7 week we rarely take the opportunity to step outside and take time away from the pace of everyday life and technology and simply take the time to think – reflect – and to destress. THIS IS NECESSARY. Walking helps supress and control our Cortisol levels and without a means of doing this we will run into hormonal issues and health problems
Getting Outdoors is quite simply Good for your body and good for your brain and mood. Feel Good Endorphins are released and fresh air and oxygen is breathed in. If we want good Health this is something that we should try to do everyday
Walking after dinner for 20-30minutes and before bed will help to calm you if you have sleeping issues. Sleeping issues leads to Poor Health and Weight Gain. Walking is a great remedy for this
Walking after dinner will also help your body digest the nutrients from your meal and control your blood sugars and your Insulin. Once again helping us achieve Good Health and improved weight management. Walking after you awake on a fasted body and before breakfast will help you burn fat, it will help you warm up and mobilise your body priming it possibly for your intended ‘Real Exercise Session!!!!’ later in the day and it will clear your head preparing you for the day ahead.
Walking will help reduce stiffness and results in less DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) from your additional exercise sessions. Many studies have shown that the increased circulation with minimal stress that comes from walking aids lymph drainage and reduces inflammation therefore providing the perfect Active Recovery for all Athletes and possibly especially us older Athletes.
I remember the days when an Easy 5 or 6 Mile run or 20-30 mile Bike Ride was considered by me as a gentle Active Recovery Day, however experience has now taught me that this is too Impacting and too stressful for Active Recovery.
If I want to perform at my best in my next Tough Exercise session or competition then Active Recovery is much preferred to simply sitting broken and comatose on the sofa, a Good walk is a perfect Tonic to help my recovery and to help me be ready.
I totally appreciate the Fat Burning benefits of Intense Exercise.
I do it Frequently and any client that I work with and who is Healthy enough will have a solid dose of High Intensity Exercise. Whether that’s classic HIIT style workouts, IWT Intervals or simply other standardised High Intensity exercise such as Weightlifting, Running or Circuit style workouts. However NOBODY including Elite Athletes use this exercise protocol EVERYDAY. As we get older it is increasingly important to utilise other aspects of Exercise and alternative Energy systems. In today’s World we seem intent on trying to do more, more and more. Classic Crossfit workouts are now becoming the norm and utilised by people day in and day out.
Crossfit workouts are great but not EVERYDAY. Too much Intense exercise will ultimately lead to Increased Cortisol, a beaten up Central Nervous system and thereafter decreasing benefits from exercise and increasing hormonal and Health Issues. A good tempo Walk especially when performed fasted and with specific nutritional supplements* continues to provide all of the benefits above without any stress on the system
(See my Fat Loss Programs for how to integrate walking properly and most effectively into your routine to maximise Fat Burning*)