Human beings walk to get around, not to lose weight. Up until the last 30 or 40 years, most people in this country and around the world were relatively thin and fit. Most of us didn’t eat processed foods loaded with fat, sugar, and salt, nor did we sit in front of screens all day and night. We walked and played and ate real food. But our lives have changed dramatically over the last 25 years.
And in the process, the obesity rate has skyrocketed. A lot of people say they walk as a form of exercise—and while any activity is good activity, obesity is not a problem that’s going to be solved by walking alone. The issue is and has always been, “calories in versus calories out.” Walking is certainly better than doing nothing, but from my experience it’s not enough if you’re looking for dramatic metabolic and physical changes. If you want head-over-heels dramatic change in your health and well-being, you have to do a variety of cardiovascular plus interval exercises.
As for jogging and running, if you love it, do it, but make sure you don’t overdo it. Your hips, back, knees, and ankles will let you know soon enough that you’re doing more damage than good. Research shows that young bodies can handle more, while older (you know who you are) can’t. Start by doing 20 minutes and progress from there. Warm up properly, ease into the run for the first 5 to 8 minutes, and always—and I mean always—wear a heart rate monitor. Do not make running and jogging the sole cardio you do, but rather, one part of your overall heart, lung, and leg fitness program.