Is Uphill Walking a Better Workout?

Walking is one of the most popular forms of exercise, and for good reason. It’s something almost everyone can do, it doesn’t require any special skill, you don’t need much equipment other than a good pair of shoes, and you can do it almost anywhere at any time! For those on a weight loss plan and a tight schedule, walking makes sense as a regular form of exercise.

But you might have heard that uphill walking is preferred. Is this true? And what’s the big difference?

Primarily, those who tout the benefits of uphill walking are referring to calorie burn. It is true that you can burn about 10 percent more calories when you choose a hilly route, versus a completely flat one. That’s because walking uphill requires greater effort from muscles, so this translates into greater energy expenditure. Plus, when you walk uphill, you target hamstrings, calves, and glutes (the backs of your legs). So a hilly route can work great for toning your muscles.

On the other hand, the downhill part of your route isn’t exactly a waste of your time! And when you do it right, walking downhill is also a valuable exercise. This movement will require more effort from the front muscles of your legs – your quads and lateral hip stabilizers – helping to tone and strengthen them. When you hit the downhill part of your route, be careful not to give into gravity and forget about form. This is a time to carefully monitor your movement to build strength in those muscles and prevent injuries.

So, yes, a hilly walking route is definitely more beneficial than a flat course. But, as with all forms of exercise, we caution you not to dive into a more difficult routine too passionately. Take it easy at first, and don’t push yourself harder than feels comfortable. And of course, watch your form to prevent injuries, and take it easier on days that you’re very sore.

To discuss your fitness and weight loss plans in more detail, call us to schedule an appointment. We can review your plans and help you decide upon safe and attainable goals.

 

One Quick Change for Healthier Workouts

You’ve been faithfully working out for a few weeks or months now, or maybe even longer. You’re seeing great results from exercise, you feel more energetic, and you’re happy with your progress overall. These are all positive outcomes. But on the negative side, you’re feeling a bit bored with your workout routine. Sometimes you really have to push yourself to get started, and you feel a bit less enthusiastic overall.

What if we told you there’s one simple change you could make, that would rejuvenate your workouts and help you feel more motivated to get going? It’s really very simple, but many people haven’t thought about it before: Take your workout outside!

Obviously, you can’t haul heavy gym equipment into your yard (that would be a workout of its own). But you can abandon the treadmill for a real-life walk or jog, swap the stationary bike for a regular one, or even grab your free weights and head out to the patio. You might even design a new workout, with a jump rope or some Pilates bands, or try out a new Youtube video via your phone or laptop. Most types of exercise can be adapted to the outdoors, and you’ll reap the following benefits:

Get more Vitamin D. Our bodies synthesize Vitamin D from sunlight, and most of us don’t get enough. This nutrient is important for building healthy bones, and might help to prevent problems such as diabetes and obesity. Sunlight also helps your body to regulate its circadian rhythms, so you can get better quality sleep.

Fight depression, anxiety, or simply the “workout blues”. Time spent outdoors can help you fight depression and anxiety. Or, if you simply feel less motivated to exercise these days, moving outdoors can feel rejuvenating.

Prevent boredom. Of course, the primary benefit to outdoor exercise is to prevent stagnation in your workout routine. If you always work out inside a gym, trying something new can help you switch up your regular program. You’re less likely to skip workouts or quit altogether when you keep things fresh and exciting.

As always, remember to consult with us before beginning a new workout routine. We can screen you for underlying problems that can make some forms of exercise dangerous for you. We can also help you put together a nutrition plan, if weight loss or maintenance is your goal, and help you stay motivated as you progress.

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**Please Note: Although we always try to accommodate walk ins, we do require you to be seen by our Provider in order to start any medical weight loss program. Please give us a call to check availability.


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