I used to be one of those people who didn’t really believe that walking was an exercise. I thought it was for people who were too lazy or too unfit to run. It’s pretty harsh I know, but there’s a reason. I grew up participating in high intensity sports: (primarily) martial arts, soccer, gymnastics, and wrestling. To me, unless you’re sweating like mad and your heart is beating like crazy, you’re not exercising. I took that mentality to the gym whenever I worked out or whenever I ran/jogged around outside. (I secretly scoffed at the people who said walking was exercise.)
Before my ankle sprains, I would work out about 3 times a week. This usually included an hour cardio session and/or 30 minutes to one hour strength training. (For a while I also did a 1 hour yoga class and for a very brief time a 1-hour aerobic dance class on top of 1 hour of my own work-out.) Then, I couldn’t go the gym after I sprained my left ankle–immediately followed by the right ankle. During my ankle sprains, I worked out at home 3~4 times a week for 30-45 minutes doing circuit training. Now, I’m walking my dog everyday: 50 minutes in the morning and 1~2 hours at night. My ‘walks’ range from a slow leisurely pace to a decent-paced jog. (I’ve had to start wearing a brace on my right ankle because it’s not fully healed yet and started to hurt.)
I know I’m eating healthier, but it’s still a little baffling how much my weight and body measurements (waist and stomach) have decreased. I’ve been worried about losing muscle mass so I still try to do some kind of 15-30min. circuit body-weight training at home 1-3 times a week. Last week was so stressful and draining that I would come home from work, nap, walk Sue, eat, and then go to bed…definitely no energy for extra work outs.
Anyway, my point is that I no longer turn my nose up at the speed walkers. After walking Sue daily and working up a sweat, I believe walking can be an exercise…if it’s done for an extended amount of time at a fairly brisk pace. I think, to see the benefits of walking, you have to do it for a much longer time and more frequently than other high-intensity work-outs.
Did I ever mention the women/female work-outs on the treadmill in Korea? They get on the treadmill and walk a very leisurely pace with their hair down and never break a sweat. I’m sorry, but that will never be exercise in my book. Sorry this post is a bit of a jumble. I’ll make up for it with a cute picture of Sue: