Most people will simply roll their eyes when asked – is walking good exercise?
However, with more and more people giving themselves up to the sedentary 9 to 5 lifestyles, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to maintain good health.
Most of these people will gladly opt for weight loss pills and the likes to find a quick fix to their rapidly gaining weight, while failing to realize that the answer is as simple as walking.
Yes, walking really is an awesome exercise!
There is even new evidence to suggest that walking when it comes to losing weight and overall body health, could be as good an exercise as jogging, if not better.
You really do not need to indulge in strenuous gym workouts with mind numbing cardio just to keep a flat tummy; in fact such workouts when unsupervised can be downright harmful, besides the results are short lived as well because most people simply cannot keep up with the rigorous requirements.
So how is walking good exercise? Here’s why…
How Can Walking Benefit The Body
Walking, when done regularly is a good cardiovascular exercise as it strengthens the heart as well as the lungs, besides increasing overall fitness.
When it is done with diet and carefully crafted fitness plans, it can help you maintain your weight while toning the muscles.
It is a great workout for the muscles as well as the bones, and it also helps to increase blood circulation.
An important point to understand is that walking done while exercising is not the same as walking that you do every day.
Most people take about 4,000 steps on a daily basis which might seem like a lot however clearly it does little to help them lose weight.
This is primarily because firstly, they are not walking right and secondly it is rarely as intense as it should be.
Power walking or walking between moderate and high intensity can leave you just as exhausted as jogging after a reasonable clip.
Lecturer of sports science at the University of Exeter, Dr Craig Williams says: ‘Walking can improve muscle endurance as well as muscle strength, especially in the lower body.
Because it is low impact, it does not have the same potential for injury as jogging. Yet it can offer all the benefits.’
Marcus Davis, who is an osteopath at the Harley Street Back Centre in London, adds – “Walking helps to drain the lower legs of excess fluid and can help prevent varicose veins through the pumping action of the calf muscles.
The increased supply of oxygen exercise promotes also gets rid of the waste products in the tissues.”
As you can see, there is a large body of evidence which supports that walking is indeed a fantastic way to maintain your health.
How To Walk Right
Now before you hit the pavement, you need to learn how to walk again, literally.
First stand with your shoulders relaxed at about shoulder width, keep a straight posture keeping your chest lifted and your chin tucked in as this will give your head some support.
Start walking slowly at your regular pace keeping your knees pointing forward.
Don’t overextend your feet as doing so can increase the chances of injury; walk naturally for about 10 minutes in order to let your body warm up.
When you walk, don’t land your feet with a thud, put your heel first and let it transit to the rest of the foot naturally.
Once you have warmed up, start walking at a moderately brisk pace; think of how you walked when you were about 10 minutes late for an appointment, your heart rate should be sufficiently elevated and you should be building up some sweat.
Ideally, you should walk at this pace for 30 minutes and your heart rate should be at least 100 beats per second.
Once you get into a groove, pick up the pace a little more each day, to the point where you eventually are speed walking.
How Often Should You Walk
You should try and walk at least 30 minutes daily for at least 5 days per week. If you cannot afford to spend 30 minutes in a stretch, then go for two 15 minutes walks every day.
The biggest point to keep in consideration is doing it regularly.
Walking is also something that you can do in a variety of different ways. You don’t always have to go to a park just to walk (although that will be a great idea).
You can for instance, get off at one stop earlier on your way back from work and walk the remainder of the way.
It may not seem like much at first, but the effect is accumulative, meaning when you do it every day, the added exertion will ensure that you get a good workout.
Another more commonly suggested way to increase your workout is to take the steps rather than the elevator.
As a matter of fact, walking up a flight of stairs is the best workout you can get.
Such simple additions to your daily routine can go a long way in ensuring that you get a good workout regardless of how busy you are.
Is Physical Fitness All There Is To Walking?
While walking is a good exercise no doubt, it also offers certain psychological benefits. When you walk your body produces a chemical serotonin which elevates your mood and makes you feel good.
Walking can also give you a good dose of endorphins which are another feel good hormone.
These chemicals are naturally released towards the end of a workout session and are the reason for “runner’s high” and the feeling of elation that people get after having exerted themselves.
So Is Walking Good Exercise?
Resoundingly yes! Few other exercises can complete with walking when you put into perspective how easily it can be done, and how many benefits it offers.
Walking really is the proverbial one stone that kills 2 birds and can indeed cure many problems for you so try it, if the mountains of data are any indications, you should see your health as well as your general overall being improving in no time.
Looking for a good pair of walking shoes?
Did you know there is a huge difference between running shoes and walking shoes? and choosing the right shoe for the right job is critical to your body’s health?
Read my review on the best walking shoes for women.
If you are interested in learning more about walking and its benefits check out the mayo clinics website, they have a lot of useful information on this topic!