19 December 2010

Dr. Oz recommends baby steps?

Charleston, S.C.

One of the things I like best about Charleston is that it is a walking town. Walking is the most practical form of transportation on the peninsula which isn't more than a couple of miles across at it's widest and there is always something new to see, some new alley to explore or secret garden to peak into.

I walk to get places and I walk fast. My legs get restless and dull feeling if I skip more than a day or two. It's always a happy relief for me to walk with someone who can match my stride. I walk about three miles most nights, often quite late and on weekend mornings I lallygag, stopping to take pictures and do my errands.

Dr. Oz' columns sometimes catch my eye since he seems to give practical advice so I clicked on his recent one about walking and was flabbergasted. His latest advice? Instant Weight Loss: Take Smaller Steps.

According to Dr. Oz: Here’s why: All walkers, no matter their height, use the same amount of energy per stride. But short people (including kids) have to take more strides more quickly to cover the same distance at the same speed as tall people. Simple math: More strides equal more calories.

Meaning, if you just take smaller steps but walk your usual distance in your usual time, you’ll burn more calories. To burn even more, break up those little steps with occasional bursts of skipping. More calories will go up in smoke, and you’ll feel like a kid again. (Come on, when’s the last time you skipped?)

Last tip: Get a pedometer, and aim to walk 10,000 steps a day, the amount it takes to be considered active. Make ‘em short steps, and you’ll soon be considered slim, too.

Huh? This seems like the craziest advice to me. He claims we should take tiny, steps to burn more calories. Don't worry about actually getting anywhere, don't walk for the pure pleasure of it, don't hope for the benefit of aerobic exercise, don't enjoy a natural brisk stride. Make yourself take tiny little mincing steps.

I can't imagine anyone is going to keep up that for long term exercise. Does this make sense to anyone?