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Start walking toward healthier bones and heart

Mar 03,2007
The recent warm weather created a good environment for waking up idle muscles. Doctors recommend walking for those who have used the cold weather as an excuse for idleness. It is a well-rounded way to work out that trains over 600 muscles and 200 bones. However, those who are embarking on an exercise program should be aware that even walking is not as simple as it may seem.

Doctors say that a workout regime should begin with moderate exercise.
Kenneth Cooper, head of Cooper Aerobics Center in the United States, says that in order to reduce reactive oxygen species such as free radicals, which damage cell structures and are a leading cause of aging and geriatric disease, there is no better exercise than walking. Yet Mr. Cooper warns that walking with too high a level of intensity can increase the chance of muscle injury and escalates the production of reactive oxygen by increasing oxygen depletion 10-fold.
Less intense exercise is defined as working out two or three times a week while maintaining the appropriate heart rate. (The appropriate heart rate is about 65 to 80 per cent of one’s age subtracted from 220.) For a 40 year old, somewhere between117 and 144 would be the appropriate heart rate during exercise. In order to measure the heart rate, pause between walks and place your hand on the carotid artery. Suppose a person walks a mile. When walking the distance in 20 minutes, the heart rate may only be around 55 per cent of the appropriate heart rate. Walking the distance in 15 minutes will raise the heart rate. Exercise speeds should be adjusted until the appropriate heart rate is reached.

Doctors say walking has more advantages than jogging.
“Compared to jogging, walking is more effective for weight-loss. Walking 8 kilometers per hour burns 530 calories, while jogging the same distance at the same speed only burns 480 calories,” said Jae-hyeon, vice president of Nanoori Hospital. “This is due to the fact that the feet and arms move faster when walking at a rapid pace than they do while jogging slowly.”
Furthermore, there is less chance of injury to the knees, heels and spine when walking, since it applies less pressure than jogging. When jogging, a body experiences an impact equal to three times its weight when the feet hit the ground. On the contrary, when walking the impact is only twice the weight of the body. The walking pace should be maintained at a comfortable level and this is measured by the length of one’s stride. Usually this should be 100 subtracted from one’s height in centimeters. If the steps are too wide apart, it can cause weariness. Also, the feet should be kept parallel to each other.
The biggest downside of walking is that it can get boring. “Walk along promenades or riverbanks rather than exercising on running machines,” advised Professor Kang Jae-heon from Seoul Paik Hospital. “Keeping records of your time, distance and condition is another way to overcome the tediousness of walking,” he added. Using a pedometer to keep track of the number of steps taken is also helpful. In safe areas, walking backwards or sideways may also be interesting. “Different walking methods have the advantage of making use of various muscles that we don’t normally use,” said Lee Jong-in, a doctor at Kangnam St. Mary’s Hospital, who recommends supplementing a daily work out with other activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. “When walking backwards, the muscles and cords behind the knees are strengthened and this prevents arthritis.”

Power Walking

Purpose: Burns as many calories as running but has a much lower stress- impact on the body.
How To: Walk three times as fast as regular pace, and swing both arms powerfully while walking. Walk in a straight line.
Frequency: Three times a week for at least 30 minutes per workout.
Caution: Always take time to cool down.

Walking Backwards

Purpose: Exercise seldom-used muscles and ligaments. Prevents arthritis by strengthening muscles and ligaments behind the knees.
How To: Keep the feet 10-15 cm apart. Toes should touch the ground first.
Frequency: Three times a week for at least 10 minutes
Caution: Stretch before and afterwards. Make sure to do this in a safe environment.
Sources: Nanoori Hospital & Kangnam St. Mary’s Hospital

By Park Tae-kyun JoongAng Ilbo [estyle@joongang.co.kr]



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