Is walking really exercise? The short answer is NO. Walking is transportation. Very slow, but convenient (and free) transportation. Unfortunately, many doctors recommend a “brisk” walk for exercise or weight loss. In fact, even NYC recommends walking for health and weight loss. Before you get the wrong idea here, I’m not bashing walking.
Walking is a fun activity and an enjoyable means of transportation. My only problem is when some try to pass it off as exercise or a means of weight loss.
Walking for Exercise
I consider exercise any physical stress that promotes a positive adaptation. Walking to me is recreation and transportation, nothing more. Walking is not physically demanding at all. What kind of physical stimulus can we possibly get from a walk in the park? Imagine what it takes to get calluses
on your hands. You’d probably be able to create that adaptation by beating your palms with a piece of heavy, hard wood everyday. Now imagine beating your hand with a feather everyday for the same duration of time. Yeah, nothing is going to happen because it’s not enough of a stimulus to cause a change to your skin. Walking is the feather and squats/leg press are the wood.
As for cardiovascular health, there are actually negatives to steady state cardio. Luckily, walking isn’t intense enough to cause any physical changes to the body; negative or positive.
Walking for Weight Management
Another joke is that walking can actually help with weight management. This theory is based on the calorie balance theory. Burn more calories than you eat and you lose weight. If you eat more than you burn, you gain weight. This is a load of shi’t. What about the people that eat all they want and never gain weight, while others can’t keep the wait off if their life depended on i?. There are plenty of examples where this theory doesn’t hold up, but the science of weight loss is it’s real killer.
Fat tissue is regulated primarily by the hormone insulin. The role of insulin in the body is to maintain blood sugar. When blood sugar spikes too high, insulin is released to store it. Insulin stores it into fat cells until our body needs that energy. It’s that simple. Eat less sugar/carbohydrates and your body will release it’s stored energy. Notice how walking and calories have NOTHING to do with this process. If you want to lose weight effectively, check out my weight loss entry.
By all means, don’t stop your daily walks. As I mentioned, I walk for recreation and transportation. I love walking, but it’s not my method of physical improvement in any way.