Add a spring to your step with TrekFit

Monday, August 22, 2016

Interview: Brett Smith

Mind Body & Soul Fitness Studio TrekFit Leader Brett Smith provided the following interview to The West Australian newspaper to promote the health benefits of walking.

Introduction: There is no simpler or more natural workout than walking. It’s easy, inexpensive and a great way to get in shape.

Walking can take you places great, in fitness & location. From a bushwalk to a stroll along the beach. A walk with family and friends or a chance to get away from it all, think and unwind. It’s all up to you. You can do it anywhere, anytime.

Q.1 How effective is walking from a health perspective as opposed to running?

Walking is one of the best, and certainly most versatile ways to keep fit & healthy. It is a low impact exercise that is suitable for all fitness levels. It's a defining movement of a human and a biological imperative for our overall wellness. It may not provide the same fitness boosting potential of running, however a regular walking program can provide many health & fitness benefits.

Q.2 What are the health benefits of walking?

'Walking is Movement & Movement is Medicine.' Walking assists with Heart Health, Weight Management, Stress Relief, Building Leg Strength & Muscular Endurance, Reduces risk of chronic lifestyle diseases (eg. diabetes, metabolic syndrome etc.) Reduces back pain.

Q.3 Why is walking a better option for some than running? Is running disproportionately more damaging to the body than running?

It is often said that you need to learn to walk before you run. Walking provides a more body-friendly option than running especially for the novice fitness participant. Walking stresses your joints considerably less than running and many people find it easier to incorporate a regular walking regime into their lives, than other forms of exercise.

Q.4 Should walkers build up gradually?

Like all forms of exercise it is important to adopt a common-sense approach to walking progression. Building your distance gradually is especially key for those that live a sedentary lifestyle. It is also essential to adopt a comfortable pace until your body is more conditioned to be challenged with a brisk pace.

Q.5 How far and for how long should you walk to gain the optimal benefit?

Many health bodies around the world are recommending that we accumulate at least 10,000 steps per day (approx 7km). This is equivalent to around 1-1.5 hours of walking each day which includes incidental walking. For a moderate walking program I would recommend between 30-60min of walking at least 3x week.

Q.6 How many times a week would you advise?

To achieve significant benefits I would recommend 3-5x week dependant on fitness level & goals. However, any extra walking than what you are currently doing is a bonus.

Q.7 Should you stretch before you walk?

I would suggest starting with a light pace walk for the first 5-10min to warm up your muscles. Stretching is more effective at the completion of your walk to release tight muscles and increase flexibility.

Q.8 How important are appropriate walking shoes?

This is such an individual choice based on comfort and often foot type/ mechanics. Personally, when on the beach I prefer to walk barefoot and when on pavement I am wearing a running shoe that provides sufficient support and cushioning.

Q.9 For those not keen on running or who can’t run for physical reasons are there ways to step up your program to see better results?

Joining a walking group is a great way to provide additional challenge and variety to your outdoor walking regime. At Mind Body & Soul Fitness Studio we provide an instructor-led group walking session called TrekFit. (Thursday 6am).

Brett Smith is a Fitness Professional at Mind Body & Soul Fitness Studio in Bicton. Walking has taken him to the highest peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
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