Walking is something the majority of us do each and every day without giving it much thought. At times, it can feel as automatic as breathing. But as it turns out, there is an awful lot of good that happens to your body when you get up and pound the pavement, especially if you do it for exercise!
Minutes 1 to 5
These first few steps release energy producing chemicals that fuel your walk. Your heart rate elevates and blood begins to flow, warming the muscles. Stiffness in the joints is diminished as you begin to release lubricating fluids that help you move more easily. As you start to move, your body burns 5 calories per minute instead of the 1 calorie per minute it burns at rest. As your body now requires more energy, it begins to take it from carb and fat stores.
Minutes 6 to 10
Your heart rate increases from about 100 bpm to 140 bpm. As you pick up the pace, you begin to burn about 6 calories per minute. The slight rise in your blood pressure is offset by the release of chemicals that expand your blood vessels. This allows more blood and oxygen to flow to the muscles.
Minutes 11 to 20
Your body temperature keeps rising and you begin to sweat. The blood vessels near the skin expand to release heat. Again, as you increase the pace you will begin to burn 7 calories per minute. Epinephrine and glucagon levels rise to release fuel to the muscles.
Minutes 21 to 45
You'll feel invigorated and begin to relax. Your body will release tension due, in part, to an increase in feel good chemicals like endorphins in your brain. As you begin to burn more fat, insulin levels drop.
Minute 46 to 60
You may now start to feel some fatigue as your carb stores are reduced. While you cool down, your heart rate decreases and your breathing begins to slow down. You will be burning fewer calories at this point, but it will still be more than the number of calories you were burning before you started. This calorie burn will remain elevated for up to 1 hour.
Our bodies were built to move and they were built to walk! Adding some extra steps to your day certainly can't hurt!
What 'steps' do you take to incorporate more walking into your daily routine?
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