Walking The “Superfood” Of Fitness

Katy Bowman, a biomechanist based in Ventura, Calif., insists that walking is the new “superfood,” and adding one hour of intense exercise at the gym isn’t enough to offset the consequences of sitting for 10 hours.

Compared with conventional aerobics and low-intensity exercise such as walking, high-intensity interval training releases the human growth hormone, or the “fitness hormone,” which scientists say is crucial for maintaining strength, health and longevity.

When healthy but inactive people exercised intensely, even for just a few minutes, the DNA molecules within their muscles undergo important chemical and structural changes, according to a 2012 study published in The Journal of Physiology.

High-intensity interval training genetically reprograms muscles for strength and positively affects genes responsible for burning fat, the study found. But weight loss isn’t the only benefit. Researchers found that HIIT leaves you feeling more energetic, improves your overall athletic performance (including increasing your speed), firms your skin (less wrinkles), boosts your sex drive and improves muscle tone.

The benefits of HIIT can be seen well after the workout is over, as the body is able to increase its ability to use oxygen and insulin. It also opens up your arteries, making them more elastic as oxygen-carrying blood flows more smoothly, reducing the risk of a vessel-blocking clot. Three miles (5 kilometers) per hour is a good beginning, gradually working to 4 miles per hour.


Exaggerating your stride length forces your butt and quads to work harder. Alternate one minute of moderate walking and one minute of exaggerated strides or lunges to rev your sizzle.

Sample Walking Program

  • Power surge for one minute, taking exaggerated strides that are six to 12 inches longer than normal. Maintain a tall posture, looking straight ahead. Alternate with one-minute recovery walks done at a moderate pace.
  • Power surge for one minute with walking lunges: Lunge forward with your right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees, then rise only slightly as you bring your left leg forward into a lunge. Alternate with one-minute moderate-pace recovery walks.
  • Switch between one minute of exaggerated strides and one minute at a moderate pace.
  • Alternate between one minute of walking lunges and one minute at a moderate pace.
  • Repeat the sequence; cool down.

Although, walking does not do everything. It is less beneficial for bones than running, and for strength, it is better to lift weights. But, If you’re going to pick one thing, research says it should be walking.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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