We all know walking is good for us, but making the walk feel easy is the key. "A decline in walking ability and frequency is a major predictor of health problems."-reported HealthDay, so you must do everything in your power to make the walk feels easy for your body.
Medical News Today has reported about the metabolic cost, which refers to the amount of energy required to move. Children have a naturally low metabolic cost, but as we age the body thinks it costs more energy to move. The goal is to do anything that makes your body feel like walking is still easy and fun.
Six ways to lower your metabolic cost
- Sedentary people, whether from sitting at a desk at work or avoidance because it is painful for the feet, all have a high metabolic cost. Do not allow yourself to sit for an hour straight, because maintaining good circulation, gives your body a better chance to lower the cost of moving. Indiana University found, "it only takes one hour of sitting to cut off blood flow in major leg arteries by up to 50%. This damages your feet, legs and prevents proper circulation to your heart." Are you ready for the exciting part? "The team found that subjects who took a five-minute walk once an hour did not cut off circulation. Scientists want to be clear, they do not mean the subject had less restriction...they didn't have any."Washington Post. So set an alarm and get up every hour.
- Participate in occasional high-aerobic activities, if your body does a rigorous workout once in a while, when it is time to just walk your body will have a low metabolic cost because it will feel easy. The recent studies are showing that a short walk every hour is better for the body than sitting all day and doing a strenuous workout at the gym. Your cells do not want the workout to cost them a lot of energy, keep it enjoyable.
- Wear shoes that make walking feel easier, and keep your feet pain-free by always supporting them. Most people know to select sneakers that support the arch of the foot, because that will balance weight distribution and absorb the impact. It is not as obvious when it comes to selecting sandals, even though people walk many miles in their sandals during the summer. Even dress shoes can be properly fitted for comfort and performance by slipping a custom insert in the shoe. Make sure your feet feel good, then you will walk more and lower the metabolic cost.
- Maintain a strong posture when you walk – this will encourage your body to pull strength from your core. You can do this by lifting from your center and focusing in front of you when walking, instead of down at your feet. That lifted feeling will make walking easier on your body and an open chest will let the oxygen flow more freely. A lifted body has a lower metabolic cost than a body trudging along.
- If you incorporate deep, belly breathing, you will be delivering more oxygen while sending a positive message to your cells. Oxygen is one of the primary catalysts for energy in the human body. An oxygenated and energized body maintains a low metabolic cost. Slow and deep breaths will send a signal to the cells that all is well. Walking will naturally increase oxygen levels, now see for yourself what happens if you put a smile on your face during the delicious inhale.
- Have a good attitude about moving your body. Attitude is one of the few things we can control. Take charge of your thoughts about walking, if the mind thinks it is doing something pleasurable the metabolic cost will be low. Think of the joy on a child's face when they are mobile and exploring. Do whatever is in your power to make the walk a pleasant experience for you.