The Surprising Ways Walking Delivers a High-Intensity Workout | Kanebridge News
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The Surprising Ways Walking Delivers a High-Intensity Workout

Speed up those steps to boost longevity and burn more calories

Mon, Mar 6, 2023 8:23amGrey Clock 4 min

Intensifying your fitness routine could come from the simplest change possible: how you put one foot in front of the other.

Walking with more intensity can burn as many calories as higher-impact activities such as running or even HIIT classes, experts say. That could mean incorporating weights, hills, intervals or a faster pace without breaking into a jog.

Reba Dodge always thought she needed to spend money on trendy workouts from spin to hot yoga to get fit. But the Maui, Hawaii-based floral designer and mother of two says she gets the best results from walking.

Over the past eight years, Ms. Dodge, 46, has experimented with ways to turn her daily fitness walk into a serious workout, including walking up a steep hill near her home, walking backwards and carrying 2-pound hand weights.

“The weights force me to engage my core more,” she says. “I’m even considering buying a weighted vest.”

Walking as a workout can provide stress relief and improve heart health. It is also one of the easiest ways to achieve the weekly physical activity—150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity—recommended by the World Health Organization.

“Lack of time is the number-one excuse people give for not getting enough physical activity,” says Thomas Allison, director of the Sports Cardiology Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

He recommends people focus on the quality versus the quantity of their steps. The latest science suggests that we don’t need to take 10,000 steps a day (about 4 to 5 miles) for improved health or longevity.

Taking an 11-minute brisk walk daily will also lower your risk of stroke, heart disease and a number of cancers, according to a study from the University of Cambridge published in February.

Faster tempo

Speed up those steps and research suggests you can boost longevity. Plus, you can get the same—if not greater—calorie burn on a 20-minute walk where you incorporate intervals at a brisk pace as you would from a 40-minute walk at a leisurely pace, Dr. Allison says.

Katie Breden, 42, tries to always keep a pair of sneakers in her car. The mother of two grade-school-aged boys likes to have a backup plan for when she can’t fit in her Peloton workout. She will briskly walk laps around the field during their hourlong sports practices, or walk the perimeter of the park while they play.

“So many parents sit on the bench on their phones,” says Ms. Breden, a pre-K teacher based in Point Pleasant, N.J. “This is an easy way to squeeze in a workout, and I don’t get as sweaty as I would running or spinning, so I can go on with my day.”

Get moving

Scoring fitness gains from walking can be as easy as putting a little extra spring in your step. A study published in the British Medical Journal in December found that the lurching “silly walk” made famous in the British TV show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” increased energy expenditure in adults by about 2.5 times compared with their usual walking style.

The researchers don’t expect people to start walking down the street high-kicking like John Cleese’s character, Mr. Teabag, says Glenn Gaesser, one of the study’s co-authors. He just hopes the study shows that you don’t need to spend a ton of money or time to burn more calories. Tiny changes in your routine can add up, especially when one is just getting back into shape.

“Upping the energy expenditure of your current movement or activity by taking higher steps a few times throughout the day can raise your metabolic rate,” says Dr. Gaesser, a professor at Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions.

But for those looking to lose weight: Along with making healthy diet choices, you need to increase the intensity of your exercise. If jogging or running is uncomfortable on your joints, Dr. Allison suggests power walking, where you swing your arms, and race walking, where one foot remains in contact with the ground at all times.

Head for the hills

Incorporating hills into your walking routine is a low-impact way to challenge the muscles and heart more, says Abrea Wooten, senior national education manager for gym company Life Time Inc. Ms. Wooten walks uphill wearing a weighted vest on a treadmill to help train for ultramarathons. “It’s so much gentler on my joints,” she says. “The incline puts less stress on the knees.”

Treadmill walking got a huge boost of cool when social-media personality Lauren Giraldo’s 12-3-30 workout went viral on TikTok in 2020. The influencer says the workout, which involves walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes at the speed of 3 miles an hour on a 12% incline, helped her lose 30 pounds.

Ms. Wooten estimates that you can burn three to five times more calories a minute walking at an incline because of the extra work your quads and hamstrings put in. She advises gradually ramping up on the treadmill rather than jumping straight to a 12% incline. Start at 0.5% or 1% and add 1% to 2% every week.

Maintaining proper form is also important to get the most benefit and avoid injury. “If you need to hold on to the front rail of the treadmill, you should have slightly bent arms and keep your posture tall,” she says. “If you’re holding on for dear life and leaning back with straight arms, you need to ramp down the incline and pace.”

Leaning back disengages the core muscles, she says. Ideally you will find a pace that allows you to pump your arms.

Ms. Wooten suggests mixing up the types of walking you do every few months to keep the body challenged. On vacation, walk on the beach where the uneven sand works your stabilising muscles. Find a new route in your neighbourhood with rolling hills.

“Low-impact exercise does not have to be low-intensity,” she says.


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The Strongest Protection for Your Online Accounts? This Little Key

Passwords aren’t enough to fend off hackers; these dongles are the best defense

Mon, Mar 27, 2023 4 min

Strong passwords are very important, but they’re not enough to protect you from cybercriminals.

Passwords can be leaked or guessed. The key to online security is protecting your account with a strong secondary measure, typically a single-use code. This is referred to as “two-factor authentication,” or 2FA, as the nerds know it.

I’ve written about all the different types of 2FA, such as getting those codes sent via text message or generated in an authenticator app. Having any kind of second factor is better than none at all, but physical security keys—little dongles that you plug into a USB port or tap on your phone during account logins—offer the highest level of protection.

Security keys have been around for over a decade, but now they’re in the spotlight: Apple recently introduced support for them as an optional, added protection for Apple ID accounts. Last month, Twitter removed text-message-based authentication as an option for nonpaying users, recommending instead an authenticator app or security key.

Some people are hesitant to use security keys because carrying around a physical object seems burdensome and they come with a $30-and-up added cost. Plus, what happens if they get lost?

I’ve used security keys since 2016 and think they are actually easier to manage than codes—especially with accounts that don’t require frequent logins. They’re not only convenient, but they can’t be copied or faked by hackers, so they’re safer, too.

Here’s how to weigh the benefits and common concerns of adding one or two of these to your keychain.

Which security key should I use?

Many internet services support the use of security keys, and you can use the same security key to unlock accounts on many different services. I recommend two from industry leader Yubico:

  • YubiKey 5C NFC ($US55) if you have a USB-C laptop or tablet
  • YubiKey 5 NFC ($US50) for devices with older USB ports

Other options include Google’s Titan security keys ($30 and up). In addition to working with laptops and tablets with USB ports, these keys are compatible with smartphones that have NFC wireless. Most smartphones these days have that, since it’s the technology behind wireless payments such as Apple Pay.

Adam Marrè, chief information security officer at cybersecurity firm Arctic Wolf, recommends that your chosen key is certified by the FIDO Alliance, which governs the standards of these devices.

How do security keys work?

To add a key, look in the security settings of your major accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.). During setup, it will prompt you to insert the key into your laptop or tablet’s port or hold the key close to your phone for wireless contact.

Apple requires you to add two security keys to your Apple ID account, in case you lose one.

Typically, when you log in, you just go to the app or website where you’ve set up a key, enter your username and password as usual, then once again insert the key into the device or hold it close. (Some keys have a metal tab you have to press to activate.) At that point, the service should let you right in.

Why are they so secure?

Getting those two-factor login codes via text message is convenient, but if you are someone criminals are targeting, you could be the victim of SIM swapping. That’s where thieves convince carriers to port your number to a new phone in their possession, and they use it along with your stolen password to hack your accounts.

Even if they don’t go to all that trouble, criminals might try to trick you to hand them your codes, by calling you or spoofing a website you typically visit. At that point they can use the code for about 60 seconds to try to break in, said Ryan Noon, chief executive at security firm Material Security.

Security keys protect you in two ways: First, there’s no code to steal, and second, they use a security protocol to verify the website’s domain during login, so they won’t work on fake sites.

You can also add an authenticator app such as Authy to your most important accounts, to use only as a backup. But once you add these secure methods, you should consider removing the text-message code option.

In the rare case that someone snoops your passcode then steals your iPhone, beware: The perpetrator could still make Apple ID account changes using only the passcode, and even remove security keys from your account.

What happens if you lose your key?

The most important rule of security keys is to buy an extra one (or two).

“Think of your security key as you would a house or car key,” said Derek Hanson, Yubico’s vice president of solutions architecture. “It’s always recommended that you have a spare.”

If you lose a security key, remove it from your accounts immediately. You should have already registered your spare or an authenticator app as a backup to use in the meantime.

Where can you use a security key?

Start with your most valuable accounts: Google, Apple, Microsoft, your password manager, your social–media accounts and your government accounts.

When it comes to financial institutions, many banks don’t offer security-key protection as an option, though most leading crypto exchanges do.

What comes after security keys?

Security professionals and tech companies widely agree that passkeys are the future. They’re a new type of software option that combines the high security of a physical key with the convenience of biometrics such as your face or fingerprints. Passkeys are supported across the Android, iOS, Mac and Windows platforms, and some of your favourite sites already let you use them.

You can create a passkey on Facebook in security settings by following the app’s instructions under the security-key option. Dropbox has a similar passkey setup. Once you’re done, you’ll use your face or fingerprint as a second factor, instead of a code or key.

Eventually, physical security keys could be what we keep safe in strong boxes, as backups for our biometric-enabled passkeys. Even then, you’re probably going to want to have spares.


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