We’re all aware of the dangers of excess body fat. In addition to the host of cardiovascular problems that it brings, too much fat weight makes us feel sluggish and slow, it slows down the metabolism and it makes us far more susceptible to a whole lot of diseases. Yet, not all fat is equal. Recent research indicates that abdominal fat is more likely to cause problems than fat that is accumulated in other areas, such as the butt and thighs.
A study out of Yale University focused on the effect of added fat weight on post-menopausal women. The women were selected on the basis of how much exercise they did. A study group was formed consisting of women who did moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking. The researchers found that exercises such as brisk walking helped the women to lose internal body fat. Internal body fat affects the way that the body digests carbohydrates. This can result in high blood pressure as well as reduced sexual performance. Fat loss in the study group was accelerated by an increase in brisk walking activity. The lead researcher from the Yale study, Dr. Melinda L. Irwin, concluded that people should do some type of moderate activity for 60 minutes each day. This recommendation is in line with the advice offered by the national academy of Sciences.
A report in the Physician Sportsmed journal suggests that power walking (walking in a brisk tempo) – while holding dumbbells – is an effective alternative to running in terms of building calories. Many people are unable to run for an extended period of time due to aching joints or lack of energy following a weights workout. The article states that power walking while carrying dumbbells can expend almost the same amount of calories as running does. Here are some keys to effective power walking with dumbbells:
- Walk briskly
- Exaggerate your arm action
- Take large strides, extending your push-off leg
- Walk uphill to increase the calorie burn
- Use interval training to up the fat burn even further – for example; 30 seconds fast, one minutes slow. Repeat this for a total exercise time of between 20 and 30 minutes.
- If you workout with weights several times a week you should not use dumbells with all of your powerwalks. Your arms needs rest as well.
For maximum efficiency, combine your brisk walking with some form of resistance training / weight lifting. Resistance training will allow you to shape and refine your body while losing weight. It will also prove to be a very effective calorie burner. Your resistance training schedule should involve working out three times per week on alternate days, working every major muscle group in the body – chest, back, biceps, shoulders, triceps, hamstrings, quads and calves. Mixing this up with brisk walking and you will have an extremely effective means of combatting body fat.
- Am. Med. Assoc., 289:323-330, 2003
- Physician Sportsmed, 31: 18, 2003