I love walking outside or going for hikes, but I hate walking on the treadmill. It is such a fun activity to do with friends and family, but such a boring thing to do on your own…inside…
But the health benefits that you get from low-intensity workouts, such as walking on a treadmill, make the boredom worthwhile.
With this low intensity aerobic exercises, your heart and other energy systems have to work a little harder, without being overly stressed, to handle the extra fuel and oxygen delivery demands. This low intensity aerobic exercise also creates specific biochemical signals that produce a number of health and fitness benefits including:
- Improved fat metabolism – Low intensity aerobic activity trains your body to more efficiently utilize free fatty acids as fuel, which benefits you 24/7. It also helps you develop a higher metabolic rate and a preference for fat over glucose…especially if you are eating a low carb diet. Low intensity exercise can also help you balance your blood sugar levels and regulate your appetite.
- Improved cardiovascular function – You will strengthen your heart and improve your capillary network, which is the network of blood vessels that supply your muscles with fuel and oxygen. You will also improve your respiratory system functioning (the oxygen delivery by your lungs to the rest of your body).
- Stronger immune system – You build a stronger, more efficient circulatory system through low-intensity cardio. This combined with the fact that low intensity aerobic exercise stimulates beneficial hormone flow means that your immune system will be stronger!
- Increased energy – You don’t deplete and fatigue your body very much during low-intensity exercise. Usually actually you relax and feel more rejuvenated!
- Improved musculoskeletal system – Aerobic exercise prepares your body for the stress of weight lifting. It strengthens your bones, joints and connective tissues.
And I find that walking is a great thing to do on active rest days! It is a great way to relax. You also burn some extra fat, improve your aerobic base and loosen up your muscles so that you can get in a nice good stretch and foam roll!
So don’t skip the walking, or other low-intensity aerobic activity, just because it is “easy.” It is an essential part of your workout routine! Just like foam rolling and rest, it is necessary to getting great results!