Walking for exercise

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Walking is one of my favorite forms of exercise, and I often recommend my clients take it up. Here's why I love it:
  1. Walking is a great form of physical and emotional exercise. Getting your heart rate up, soaking up the sun, breathing in the cool fall wind, and stepping away from your work is a great way to recharge, on many levels
  2. Walking can be social. Take up a regimen with a friend or a dog to keep you on track
  3. Walking is free and anyone can do it
  4. Walking is generally easy on the joints, so walkers are less prone to injury than exercisers who take up more intense sports
Recently, researchers have identified some key findings about walking, and they were broken down in October's Idea Fitness Journal. Here's the skinny:
  1. Ditch the ankle weights. They do increase calorie expenditure, but they can lead to joint injury. Try a weighted vest instead. (The vest should be between 5% and 20% of your body weight).
  2. Ditch the hand weights. They have no effect on overall calorie expenditure
  3. Keep up a moderate intensity. Researchers peg that intensity at 100 steps per minute. Use a pedometer to see how you're doing
  4. You can apply the idea of interval training to walking. Condition your heart by performing several high intensity walking stints (5-10 minutes), followed by 2 minute recovery periods

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