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Natural Awakenings - Alachua, Citrus, Marion, Sumter Co & The Villages, FL


Oct 04, 2016 05:42PM ● By Daniel Thomas

The best exercise to get healthy is the exercise we’ll do, and the most natural movements and easiest is walking. Studies have shown that putting one foot in front of the other on a regular basis may be the single best way to lose weight and keep it off. With all the trendy crossfit training, kickboxing and abdominal crunching done in gyms nowadays, walking has risen to the top as the ideal low-impact exercise. Work out at the gym is okay, but 30 minutes of brisk walking five to seven days per week can be just as beneficial.


The benefits of walking are numerous. It can boost energy and self-esteem, increase metabolism and burn fat, strengthen muscles and bones, reduce insulin resistance, reduce stress and help relax, improve memory, boost our sex life, strengthen our immune system, improve circulation, extend our life and allow us to socialize.


Walking is the superfood of exercise. One recent six-year study of 50,000 people found that walking can even be more beneficial than running. The researchers compared health benefits such as reduced risk of hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease for each group and found that walkers had better overall results. In addition to the health benefits, the researchers noted that walking has less impact and stress on the body; almost anyone can readily participant; it’s good for people with arthritis and shin splints; and better for people with respiratory or heart conditions.


Despite its gentle nature, walking can be an absolute calorie-furnace thanks to new technology. Here are three ways to turn that same 30-minute stroll into a true calorie-zapping, total-body workout.


Add walking poles: Walking with poles—also known as Nordic Walking—can turn regular walking into a total body workout and burn up to 70 percent more calories, yet amazingly, it doesn’t feel much more difficult than regular walking. The best walking poles are made by Exerstrider and can be ordered online at


Use MBT shoes: Walking shoes made by Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) are the best that money can buy. They are called “the smallest gym in the world”. Walking for 30 minutes using MBT can be equivalent to walking up to 60 minutes in regular walking shoes. MBT helps tone the entire body, improve posture, balance, and circulation soften hard surfaces when walking, and help relieve back and knee pain. For more information, visit online at


Incorporate intervals: Interval training involves alternating short bursts of high-intensity work with longer periods of recovery. In the case of walking, it involves walking fast for 30 to 60 seconds, followed by two to three minutes of slower walking and repeating this cycle for the entire 30 minutes of walking. To make this easy to do, purchase the Gymboss Interval Timer online at We all have excuses, but these tips will make walking part of our normal routine:


Buddy up: Whether we walk together every day, once a week or just talk about our walking program with a friend by phone or email, we’re more likely to stick to a routine if we have a partner.


Break it up: Can’t commit to 30 minutes all at once? No problem. Divide it into two, 15-minute segments instead.


Organize: Plan ahead by setting aside time to walk early in the morning or in the late evening to beat the summer heat and humidity.


Dr. Daniel Thomas, DO, MS, is located at 344 S. Highland St., Mount Dora. For more information, call 1-866-214-4584 or visit

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