When it comes to workout plans for cardio, we doctors prescribe walking as a daily exercise routine for everything: weight loss…back problems…cardio rehab…depression…a fierce, stabbing pain in the wrist (only kidding, of course).
In fact, we have been promoting all sorts of physical activity since time began, yes, even before Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons. The reason is that we understand the research: Benefits of walking and other forms of exercise have been shown to alleviate many physical and mental conditions, sometimes better than prescription drugs.
Your Prescription For a Daily Exercise Routine
Quite often, I’ll write workout plans “Walking 4X weekly” on my prescription pad if patients need to be less sedentary. This gets their attention. Science even agrees with me. In a Spanish study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, half the patients in a group of 4,000 were given general advice by their doctors to exercise; the other half got actual written prescriptions to exercise.
Six months later, the patients who got the written prescriptions were more prone to have a daily exercise routine and engage in physical activity than those who hadn’t. Other similar studies have turned up similar results.
Benefits of Walking
Lately, I have learned that the benefits of walking as part of your daily exercise routine are a good spot reducer, mainly for the abs. With walking (and the right diet), you can shed abdominal fat more easily than fat elsewhere on your body. Cardio exercise like walking, jogging, or running boosts the output of the hormone adrenaline.
One of its jobs is to increase fatty acids in the bloodstream, so that the body can use them for fuel. Fat cells in the abdominal area are very sensitive to adrenaline. In response to exercise, they liberate fatty acids quite readily. It’s much easier to work off fat from the abs than it is from the thighs and hips, where fat cells are more stubborn.
The Importance of Physical Activity
I came across some fascinating research done by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. They took men and women, aged 60 to 70, and put them on an exercise program for 9 to 12 months. The exercise involved workout plans of walking or jogging for 45 minutes several times a week, on average (which is what I will want you to do). The results of this study were great: Everyone lost weight. But the really important outcome was that most of their weight was burned from their bellies.
Your Best Workout Plans
Based on this information, I’ve concluded that the best workout plans for flab-busters for your midsection are cardio activities such as walking, jogging or running, or treadmill exercise. And that’s good, from a doctor’s perspective. Abdominal fat and visceral fat (which envelopes organs such as the stomach) is strongly associated with abnormal blood lipid levels, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular risk factors.
There are many benefits of walking; walking helps prevent fat gain in the belly, too. One reason is that walking is a stress reliever. If you’re under a lot of stress, the belly is like a landfill for fat. Walking, or any type of regular cardio or physical activity, thus regulates cortisol, blood sugar, and weight.
Improving Your Health
Walking may be the best method of getting in shape and improving your health. It’s easy to do, convenient, and inexpensive. In addition, doing a daily exercise routine and both cardio and resistance training helps burn fat from all over the body, and is very effective at ridding the body of unhealthy visceral fat.
The way I see it, exercise is a form of treatment, maybe even the most important lifestyle pill you can take. The benefits of walking are great and an easy way to infuse with your workout plans to add more physical activity as part of your daily exercise routine.
Thank you for reading this blog and if you want more tips on fitness, health and weight loss, take the time to learn more about my 17 Day Diet. You’ll learn how to start eating healthy and lose weight the right way!
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