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The Flipping 50 Show

Let's start Flipping 50 with the energy and the vitality you want for this second half! I solve your biggest challenges and answer questions about how to move, what to eat, and when, along with the small lifestyle changes that can make the most difference in the least amount of time. Join me and my expert guests for safe, sane, simple solutions for your second (and better) half!

Aug 18, 2023

This episode of walking tips is purely responses to our communities’ questions. and WOW did you have a lot of them? So let’s dive right in. In case you landed here first, you may also want to go back one episode and listen to the podcast I released about the benefits of walking that is full of research statistics that will blow you away… or at least out the door on a walk.


Cardiovascular Fitness Walking Tips   


How fast should you walk to make it cardio?
This is completely unique to an individual. Your heart rate and breathlessness or ability to talk at any speed will be different than mine or any other person’s. So it’s perhaps better to identify the goal. Your heart benefits from walking, period. Exercise intensity is measured in labs as METs. Your MET level walking is far higher than your met level at rest. So you’re already “cardio.”


Is walking just as effective as jogging/running?
It depends. Effective for what? It’s not the same as cardiovascular stress. It takes longer to achieve the equivalent in energy expenditure or distance. It is the lower impact which could be good unless you’re training for impact and need it.


How much would I need to walk a week to support a weightlifting routine for cardio?
This varies based on your need and goal for cardiovascular fitness. All walking improves heart health. What are your biggest goals? Then you can determine what level of intensity you want or need.


Will I still gain any cardiovascular benefits if I’m a slow walker?
You’re definitely getting the benefits of circulation and blood sugar stabilization from walking at any pace. And you benefit from cortisol reduction too. But also want to be sure you’re not judging what may feel like a fast pace to you because it’s slow to someone else. There is some evidence that for weight-bearing exercise for bone density purposes, speeds of greater than 3.3 mph are associated with bone benefit but slower are not.



Tips for Improving Walking Effectiveness 


Is 10,000 steps a day a good goal? 10K or 7K optimal steps per day?
10,000 steps has been popularized but not proven scientifically. In the recent podcast I posted this week I referenced science about each 1000 over 4000 steps contributing to testosterone boost. And also to 8000 steps boosting most significantly. But above 7000 or 8000 otherwise seem to have diminishing returns. 


How do you control breath and walking to improve core? [What is] proper deep belly breathing that engages pelvic floor/diaphragm when walking?
Keep in mind speed and resistance will activate core. Overthinking core during walking could be counterproductive. Instead, focus on posture. Practice diaphragmatic breathing at rest first, before you attempt to do so while exercising. If it becomes natural, you’ll simply be doing it while you walk too. 


Should I walk with weights?
No. The risks outweigh the benefits unless you’re wearing a weighted vest in training for an extreme event at altitude where you’ll be carrying supplies or a pack. The risk as you swing.. either your legs (if ankle weights) or your arms (hand or wrist weights) is tension or significant torque on joints.


More Tips for Walking Effectiveness and Comfort 


How to prevent tightness in hip/low back? What would cause lower back pain while walking?
Lower back pain can be prevented with improvements in walking posture. Imagine a tall posture, leaning forward from the ankles. The biggest mistake is made leaning from the waist.
Your fascia – the layer of ligamentous tissue covering your muscles – essentially stiffens. Change the gait or stop and stretch periodically. 
Find warmups at my Youtube channel.

Long strides or short?
Yes! Based on the previous response, you want to mix it up. 

Best posture while walking up a hill? Saving our knees?
I’m not sure these are the same question or separate, so I may misinterpret in my response. You maintain the same forward angle from the ankle as when on a flat. Avoid bending forward from the waist or the neck.

Best walking routine to burn the most fat in a shorter period of time?
This one completely depends! If you want to burn fat you have to be in an optimal cortisol and insulin dance. I could tell you a routine that for someone would support fat burning but for you might encourage fat storage or adrenal fatigue.


For Osteoporosis – [This question is not quite clear but doing my best]
Walk, but don’t only walk. We are mobile during the day so more of the same load doesn’t overload bone enough to add more stimulus.


Is Walking Causing Problems? 


I feel tight in my upper calf and behind my knee. So much that it is painful to squat. What to do?
I would consider how long you’ve been experiencing it. If it’s longer than a couple weeks, you’ve reduced any stress you’re putting on it and it’s not improving then I would get a physical therapy injury screen and see what they suggest doing.  


If we’re doing some strength and HIIT weekly, how does walking impact our cortisol levels?
Generally, very well. You’re reducing cortisol with walking. Unless you’re trying to turn everything into work and something hard, you’ll be rewarded.

Always get knee pain after walking, otherwise a very active and fit person.
There may be a little wear and tear stress you’re experiencing from the repetitive joint actions over and over walking that you don’t in other activities. It may be biomechanics for you are just making it not something that works as well for you.

Is It true If you keep your pace brisk, at the threshold of wanting to break Into a run, you burn more calories?
It is true that if you can fast walk vs slow jog you may expend more energy fast walking than slow jogging. Do realize that the value of walking may not be about the calories burned however, but the positive result on hormones. That pace that burns more calories may in fact burn you out. It’s important to know whether you need to burn more calories… or if you first need to remove cortisol.


How to Make Walking More Beneficial with These Tips  


Can you break walks into shorter sessions for the same benefit?
What’s your reason for walking? Endurance or something else? If your priority is reducing blood sugar and insulin resistance, walking 15 minutes after meals three times a day is more beneficial than walking 45 minutes in the morning or afternoon. So if weight loss is your goal short walks after meals may be best. The recent previous episode on walking lists the benefits of various walking lengths and timing.


Walking with a bad hip?
Without knowing more It’s hard to offer help. Walking with a bad hip in some cases could make it worse if this is dysplasia or causing friction in the joint capsule. I’d see a physical therapist or an orthopedic surgeon if you don’t know why the hip is “bad.”


Why do I always get shin splints?
Is it shin splints? What is more common and mistaken as shin splints is muscle fatigue in the anterior tibialis muscle. Start with shorter walks.  You pull your toe up more dramatically and repeatedly while walking. If you’re walking uphill, you do that more so. 

Should I stretch after walking?
If you’re losing mobility or range of motion, the best time to stretch so you can improve it is after any movement when your core temperature is elevated. Muscles are more pliable.

Need more walking tips? Share your questions with me in the Flipping 50 Insiders group



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