5 things you probably didn’t know about walking

1. Power walking burns more fat than slow jogging.Although you can burn more calories while jogging, you do not necessarily burn more fat when you walk for the same amount of time! Walking gives your body’s metabolism more time to make the switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat.

2. Your body starts releasing endorphins after your first 20 minutes of walking.Endorphins are a natural “happy drug” released in your brain that help relieve pain and reduce stress. Taking power walks outside of the office or home can calm your mind, boost your self-esteem and improve your sleep. All you need is just 30 minutes out of your day, a pair of comfortable walking shoes and a good walking posture. It can’t get easier than that!

3. You can easily estimate your walking speed without a pedometer.The math is simple: Count the number of steps you take per minute and divide that number by 30. For example, if you take 120 steps per minute, your walking speed will be approximately 4 mph.

(Hint: For optimum calorie burning, aim for a power walking speed of 4.5 mph. At that rate,you can almost burn just as many calories as someone who is jogging at the same speed.)

4. We use approximately 200 muscles when we walk.Almost every single muscle from your neck to toe is involved in balancing and moving you forward when you walk.The most heavily-used muscles while you walk include the quadriceps, hamstrings, buttock muscles, stomach muscles and calf muscles. And flexing your cheek muscles will make your walk ten times more pleasurable (a.k.a. SMILING!).

5. Brisk walking reduces cravings.Studies have shown that our brains produce lower responses to images of food on days when we did brisk walking, which helps to control our appetite for greasy food and sweets. Instead, our body and brain tell us to choose nutritious food that is necessary to compensate for the energy loss from walking, such as carbohydrates and protein. Now you know how to deal with that leftover Halloween candy!

Brian — Digital Marketing Associate, UCLA Transportation. During his down time – when he is not on Facebook or his smartphone – Brian likes to read recipes on Food Network, sing shamelessly in public and exploring new places around LA.

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