We all know the basics on walking: It’s simple, inexpensive and brimming with health benefits. The scientific literature backs this up, concluding that the cumulative effects of walking can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, help in the treatment of hypertension, improve insulin/glucose metabolism for the prevention or management of type 2 diabetes and aid in the treatment of some musculoskeletal diseases (Hu et al. 1999; Lee et al. 2001; Morris & Hardman 1997).
The simple act of walking offers myriad health benefits—reductions in stress, blood pressure and mortality, to name a few. Despite these benefits and the accessibility of walking, the majority of U.S. citizens do not walk continuously for more than 10 minutes in an average week.
In last month’s issue, it was reported that only a small portion of the population walks for extended periods on a regular basis. According to researchers from Spain, women should take up the activity to reduce stroke potential.
Barefoot-style shoes are growing in popularity, with some users convinced they improve running economy and help prevent injury. A new study suggests that wearing Vibram® FiveFingers “toe” shoes may have other positive benefits.
Numerous high-intensity interval training research studies have explored jogging, running and cycling for exercise. Walking programs may be readily developed based on the findings of these studies.
The programs below adapt the intensity of intervals for walking, using guidance from the Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale. All five of these HIIT examples draw on research-based interval programs, but personal trainers should modify them according to the fitness level of the individual.
Walking may not be the exercise form de rigueur for today’s athlete, but research continues to support its many benefits. Recently, researchers from Tel Aviv University, in Israel, discovered that a home walking program could be just as effective as strengthening exercises for improving
The study included 52 sedentary adults aged 18–65 with back pain. They were separated into a moderate-intensity treadmill walking group and an exercise group that performed specific low-back exercises. Each group completed its respective protocols twice per week for 6 weeks.
Older-adult Thai women who participated in a Buddhist walking meditation program experienced greater improvements
in overall health than similar women who followed a traditional walking exercise program, according to a 12-week pilot study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2014; 20 , 411–16). While both programs increased functional fitness, only walking meditation reduced feelings of depression and lowered blood cortisol levels.
Praise for IDEA Personal Trainer Institute™ East
I am the health and wellness coordinator for the City of Bloomington
Parks and Recreation Department in Bloomington, Indiana. I’m writing to
tell you about the Bloomington Walking Club. This informal group meets
for a guided group walk on the paved trails surrounding Olcott Park
every Thursday evening, weather permitting, April–October. Walkers of
all ability levels are welcome, and participants choose their own pace.