Let's just get this out of the way: There's no such thing as easy exercise.
That seems to be one of the takeaways of a new study appearing in BMJ Open, which looked at the benefits of taking a stroll versus taking a brisk walk or a jog.
Researchers looked at how different speeds of walking affected a person's risk of metabolic syndrome, which refers to a slew of conditions: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high blood fat levels and obesity – all of which contribute to an elevated risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
They found that jogging and fast walking cut a person's metabolic syndrome risk by as much as 50 percent, while an easygoing walk did not. Even one full hour of walking didn't have the health benefits that a shorter, brisker walk or jog did.
In other words, any physical activity is better than none – but certain kinds of physical activity are definitely better than others.
Walking is good because it means you're not sitting, but to really reap the benefits of exercise, you have to actually – well, exercise: You have to break a sweat and get your heart rate up.
Dr. Felix Aguilar, the chief medical officer of South Central Family Health Center, echoed just that in a September interview with OnCentral, in which he recommended that folks walk at a quick pace for about 30 minutes a day, which will equal about a mile-and-a-half.
Looking for areas where you can get your walk on? OnCentral has five places to take a walk in South Los Angeles, complete with photos, maps and crime stats.