Thursday, May 2, 2013

Power to walking

Need more convincing that walking is great exercise? According to Stuart Platkin, a k a The Diet Detective, there are two new studies that we should all take notice of.

The first appeared in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and said that if we expend the same amount of energy walking that we would running we will get the same benefit. Of course, you have to walk more. Platkin says that you need to walk 60 minutes to get the same benefits you would from running 35 or 40 minutes. My take: I'm less likely to get injured if I walk, so the extra 20 minutes is worth every minute.

Another study appeared in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. It probably comes as no surprise that Americans walk less than people around the world. Daily:
  • Adults in western Australia averaged 9,695 steps;
  • Adults in Japan , 7,168 steps;
  • Adults in  and Switzerland, 9,650 steps;
  • And Americans: 5,117 steps.
Some more non-surprising news from the study: The median weight gain in U.S. adults is 1.8 pounds per year. We are living at least into our 70s -- which is a lot of extra weight - about 10 pounds every five years.

And one more study, published in the American Journal of Public Health that found that people who live in the suburbs ­ and  drive everywhere ­ weigh 6.3 pounds more than city folks who walk everywhere. And people in Manhattan have the lowest rate of obesity in our country, which comes as no surprise to this Bronx girl, who never had a weight problem until I moved to the 'burbs.

Tomorrow: Platkin's tips to increase your daily steps.

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