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How Aerobic Walking Improves Your Looks

By Charles Hopkins Published 09/20/2007 | Fitness
Aerobic walking contributes both towards health and beauty. You can become slimmer and healthier by walking, which is safe, inexpensive, convenient and needs no special facilities or equipment. Many people are worried about aerobic exercises thinking that they cannot keep up the pace with others. However, aerobic walking is great for all ages and fitness levels, and easy to do.

Of all aerobic exercises, walking has the most advantages. However, it is only moderately aerobic. While ordinary brisk walking uses mostly the calf muscles to power the forward motion, aerobic walking uses the whole leg for power. Using virtually all the muscles of the lower body results in a greater metabolic change and significant improvement in health and appearance.

Using the large muscle groups for power also increases the walking speed and this increases your sense of self-confidence. In addition, the smoothness of the technique minimizes the vertical forces on the joints of the body at every stride, making it a safe exercise.

In most weight reducing programs, people generally set goals of losing a certain number of pounds. However, it is not just the weight that people are interested in. As they lose weight, they are also concerned about the size of waist, thighs and so on. There is yet another focus for reducing weight and that is shape.

Shape is not just slimness. There are slim people who have flabby tissues, a bit of a pot belly and an overall appearance that may not be so appealing. There are others who have flat abdomens, well-shaped arms and legs and full of vitality.

So, what is the difference with the two groups of people? Much of it is in the tone of the muscles. Dieting can help you lose weight and inches, but only exercise can help you get into shape. Besides weight, size and shape, posture, grace and presence add to the whole aesthetic picture.

1. Weight

Weight is not just a function of size. It is also a matter of how much of it is fat and how much is lean tissue. Lean tissue is heavier than fat. In comparing two people with the same weight, you will find that the one with strong muscle and less fat will look smaller than the one with less muscle and more fat. So, small weight differences may not indicate fat gain or loss. Do not allow such little changes to be the cause for elation or dejection. Work at the longer lasting results.

2. Size

Size again is another relative measure. A 22 inch waist on an average height person looks great but the same on a tall person will be cause for concern. Measurements must be relative to height and the body frame.

You should also measure other dimensions besides waist size. Hips, thighs, midriff, abdomen, chest and upper arms all contribute to how you look. Using exercise, specifically aerobic walking, you lose inches faster than weight. The tape measure will be a better way of measuring results rather than the weighing scale.

The easier way is, of course, when you can get into clothes that you have not been able to get into.

3. Shape

Dietary restrictions help in weight and size improvements, but do not help in shape improvements. With dieting, you can lose fat and become thin, but a bulging belly will not be flattened. When dieting, you lose weight not only in fat, but also in water and lean tissue.

In contrast to only dieting, aerobic walking yields a slim figure with only fat loss. There is a slight gain in lean tissue, and cells of vital tissues and organs are better able to utilize water in their metabolism. The muscles used in the exercise become toned and shaped, with no fat to hide them.

4. Posture

A good posture can add to the illusion of not just height but also self-assurance.

Aerobic walking provides mild, sustained exercise for the lower back muscles in balance with the abdominal muscles, which is great for posture. Aerobic walking itself requires one to hold the head high and in line with the body's center of gravity, which further contributes to posture.

5. Grace

A great shape is enhanced by good posture. This can be taken a step further by adding grace. The smoothness of the stride and strength, yet seeming ease of movement adds life to posture.

The convenience of modern civilization has made sitters of us instead of walkers. Aerobic walking provides the fluid motion that spares the jarring of the knees and spine, enabling even runners with chronic knee problems to get a good workout.

6. Presence

Presence comes from among other things, posture, stride, self-confidence, energy and vitality. While aerobic walking does not directly confer this, it does however bring you the elements that contribute to it.

As you become adept at aerobic walking techniques and start working at levels that bring metabolic change, you can expect
- A slimmer, stronger body
- Tall, proud posture
- Purposeful and effortless movement
- Vitality
- Enhanced self-esteem

To top all of these, aerobic walking bestows a more youthful appearance by granting vitality and a strong stride.