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Q&A with K & A

Fun and Fit: Walk (or Run) to the ‘Best’ Cardio Workout

Which is better: six of one or half-dozen of the other?

Dear Fun and Fit: Which is a better cardio workout — stationary bike, treadmill or elliptical machine?

— Tina of Lubbock, Texas

Fun and Fit:Q and A with K and A, aka Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA, and Alexandra Williams, MA
Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A, aka Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA, and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I heard walking is much better for you than running. Is that true? If so, why?

— Noel of St. Joseph, Mo.

Kymberly: Dear cardio ladies: Since the same answer applies to both of your questions, we are tackling them together. (Kind of like what guys said to us in our early dating lives, pre-hubbies. That “twin thing” again.)

The bottom line is that the “best” activity is the one you will actually do. Log time and intensity. Which activity do you find most comfortable on your body? Which one will you stick with the longest? Which one keeps you injury free? The goal is to go as long as you can, as hard as you can, as often as you can. What do you actually like doing? Yes, it’s that simple and accessible!

We could give you heart rate formulas and a discussion about involved joints and high impact vs. medium or low impact, but why get caught up in all that? “Log time; be happy” is the best advice we can give you for cardio. Your body will tell you what you prefer doing. If not, Alexandra will.

Alexandra: First of all, no one ever tackled me. It was more like throwing themselves at my feet. Or running away. I can’t remember which. But it involved some sort of cardio workout. Which is my point entirely — you need some sort of cardio workout. The exact “right” kind of depends on you.

Tina, which machine do you like better? Noel, do you prefer running or walking? You have to do the one that you will actually do. What? That sounds like a skanky date proposal!

“Log time,” by the way, means writing down the amount of time you are doing your chosen activity. You don’t get to count the time spent “standing in the shade” or “checking my phone messages,” which is what Kymberly always does when we walk together on a gentle, uphill slope. Me personally, I hate to run. I want to exercise, not sweat. Walking is my favorite nonwork-related exercise because it allows me ample time to play with my iPod (which I still don’t quite understand), with time left over for calling my teenager for iPod advice. I can’t make those kinds of calls if I’m running!

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K: Excuse me, but “gentle, uphill slope” my Cinnabuns! Alexandra took me on a forced death march up a cliff with no end, under the raging sun, dangling the water bottle from her “busting my butt” hand. What I would have given for a nice, programmable, nontaunting piece of cardio equipment at that moment. So the new and best cardio activity for me now is to work my way downhill. Like what’s-her-twinnie, I am not a runner. The knees do not take well to all that pounding.

The last time I did a running program was from my house to Alexandra’s back in the day when we were, ahem, younger. She lived a mile from me then and made pancakes for brekkie if I showed up on time. Then she would drive me home. So you can see where a running program really was not the best workout for me. The pancakes were the best, though!

Again, the “best” cardio workout is the one or ones you will actually engage in. Even “better” is to change up the activity. If you always power walk, try a stair climber now and then. If you always run on a treadmill, get outdoors and walk.

Click here to check out an article courtesy of ACE Fitness. They were kind enough to totally back up everything we are advising, proving that Alexandra and I are geniuses with great advice when we tell you to do interval training and enjoy the process.

Readers: What is your favorite cardio activity? What do you find “best” (besides our blog, of course)? Send comments to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Identical twins and fitness pros Kymberly Williams-Evans and Alexandra Williams have been in the fitness industry since the first aerobics studio opened on the European continent. They teach, write, edit, emcee and present their programs worldwide on land, sea and airwaves, including AM 1490 at 6:20 p.m. on Sunday nights. They co-write Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A from their home base in Santa Barbara. You can currently find them in action leading classes at Spectrum Uptown and Goleta and at UCSB. Kymberly is the former faculty minor adviser at UCSB for its fitness instruction degree offered through the Department of Exercise & Sport Studies; Alexandra serves as an instructor and master teacher for the program. Fun and Fit answers real questions from real people, so please send your comments and questions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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