There’s a lot of benefits from walking your 10,000 steps everyday, but science shows that it’s just not enough to keep your body healthy and looking its best, if that’s all you do.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) doesn’t even count walking as exercise!  How did they figure that?!

Physical Activity vs Exercise

The ACSM puts walking under the category of physical activity; and things like Yoga, Bootcamp, strength training, and Pilates come under the category of exercise.

The way to tell the difference between the two is straight forward: in exercise, you intentionally try to raise your heart rate, strengthen your muscles and/or increase your balance or flexibility.  Exercise is the time you dedicate to improving or maintaining your physical health.

Physical activity however, describes how much you move about throughout the day, like walking your dog or grocery shopping, anything that isn’t sitting down.

When It Comes to Your Physique and Long-Term Health…

Many overlook the importance of strength exercises when it comes to shaping your body.

Muscles burn a lot of energy, even at rest state, so the more lean muscles you carry, the easier it is for your body to burn off excess energy.

The easiest way to strengthen muscles whilst doing your daily walk is to add weight bearing exercises to your current walking program.

Weight bearing and resistance exercises force you to work against gravity and/or fight against resistance so that you can strengthen your muscles and also your bones!

This is because our bones need weight bearing exercise to stay strong, and for our joints to be healthy. Our balance decreases also as we age, so we need to actively train it with activities like Dipping Birds and Yoga as we get older.

Studies show that the winning formula of physical activity and exercise has at least two sessions a week of strength and balance training.

And it doesn’t have to mean grabbing heavy dumbbells – though you can do that too!  Doing a Reformer or Mat Pilates class, or Barre and Functional Training are tried-and-tested strength training you can do.

A Walking Program That Ups the Ante

Our physio student, Jess T, does the following program when she’s taking a break while studying for exams.  Add it into your walk to spice up your routine!

Once you’ve walked long enough to get warmed up, complete the following circuit two to three times through:

200m Brisk Walk
10 Squats
200m Brisk Walk
10 Push ups (against a bench is great!)
200m Brisk Walk
30 secs Plank
200m Brisk Walk
10 Lunges (5 each leg)
200m Brisk Walk
10 Dipping Birds (5 each leg)
200m Brisk Walk
Bonus Extra: 10 Bench Tricep Dips, if there’s a park bench nearby.

(If you need more info about how to do these exercises, send us an email, and we’ll send you some how-to videos.)

Does this mean you should stop walking to the park with Fido?  No!  It mean that you should probably combine it with one of our Bootcamp sessions!

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