detox

Susan and James, Walking for Happiness

Well, yes and no … mostly no!  If you’re a 200lb person (220lbs is 100kg, or around 14 stone in English), and you walk at 2.5mph, which isn’t bad for an unfit, overweight person, you would need to walk more than 30 miles (on the flat) to walk off one pound of fat.

But by the time you’ve walked 30 miles you will have worked up one heck of an appetite! About.com has a good article about walking to lose weight, and says

 A rule of thumb is 100 calories per mile for a 180-pound person and 65 for a 120-pound person.

Bear in mind that a pound of fat contains 3500 calories, so a 180lb person needs to walk 35 miles, and a 120lb person will have travelled 53 miles before they’ve burned one single pound of fat!

So does that mean we shouldn’t exercise when aiming to Live Free From Obesity?  Not at all.  Back in 2009 I Nordic Walked well over 200 miles as part of my regime, got trained as a Nordic Walking Instructor (so did Susan) and we founded Walking for Happiness.

So if we’re trying to lose weight, and exercise doesn’t really do it, why bother?  Well, I never said that exercise wouldn’t improve your general fitness, improve your circulation, tone your muscles.  It will do all these things, and these all will help your weight-loss efforts.  Perhaps best of all, walking (especially Nordic Walking, which works the major muscle groups in your upper body, as well as your lower body) pumps your lymphatic system and helps with the general de-tox process that goes with (both as pre-cursor and as a result of) weight loss. There’s an interesting article about cleansing your lymphatic system on Livestrong.com,  but boy, do I think they have their priorities upside down!  They have Step 1, “Book a lymphatic massage from a licensed massage therapist” and Step 7: “You can walk briskly”.  Well.  Which is most available to most people?  A licensed massage therapist skilled in lymphatic drainage, or going out of the front door and taking a brisk walk?  And given that you can buy a pair of Nordic [simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B0020GDA6S" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/316mqHjoeeL._SL160_.jpg" width="33"]Walking poles from Amazon, probably for less than the price of a single message session, and can learn [simpleazon-image align="right" asin="073608178X" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51kOXmq%2BMnL._SL160_.jpg" width="112"]Nordic Walking from a book, a DVD, or even You Tube videos (that’s all we used for the first 250 miles of Nordic Walking), I know which I’d go for!

If you’d like some inspiration, check out these videos on the Walking for Happiness website. Best NW Video, Nordic Walking 101, What The Drs Say, What People Say About Walking for Happiness.

Of course there are other considerations.  If you exercise hard and consistently you will convert fat to muscle.  You may actually tip the scales a little higher (muscle weight more than fat) but you will have improved your Fat Body Mass / Lean Body Mass ratio, which is what you really want to do.  And you should see an increase in the weight loss brought on from other things that you are doing, because muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat.

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="1934030902" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EXEmIArEL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"]They tell me (and I will be finding out for myself) that Crossfit is the way to go.  I’ll keep you posted!

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B0081TIGQM" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HVIoakooL._SL160_.jpg" width="124"]In the meantime, I just discovered and bought this book on my iPad/Kindle.  Now my head is really spinning!

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