Is sweating buckets better than a brisk walk?

Feel like your clients aren’t doing enough for their health unless they’re sweating buckets during your workouts? Cut yourself – and them – some slack. Research suggests that longer periods of walking briskly can give clients all the health benefits of running.

The surprising findings, published in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, found that a regular brisk long-walking routine helps lower a person’s risk of hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes just as much as running – as long as they’re covering the same distance. (This study looked at total exercise amount, or intensity, multiplied by time.)

Researchers found that mile for mile, walking and running offer similar heart-health benefits. While the advantage to running is that you log more miles in less time, walking may be more sustainable: It’s easier on the hips and knees, and more convenient too.

The more a person walks or runs each week, the greater the health benefits – up to a point. The useful limit of running is two hours at a time per day. Most Americans don’t come close to that. In fact, less than one in five people walk for an hour each day.

You can help your clients do better than the average. Encourage them to use a Fitbit – or another tracker – and set a goal of 10,000 brisk steps every day. They’ll feel good and they’ll enjoy a number of overall wellness benefits – without drowning in sweat.

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