The Centers for Disease Control have identified walking as the most well-known type of cardiovascular exercise in the United States. Approximately sixty percent of adults report that they walk for a period of at minimum ten minutes in any week. Going for a walk for physical activity entails greater commitment than just 10 minutes a week. The majority of Americans do not meet the physical activity guidelines that were created by health experts.
Organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week. This should be done at a reasonable pace, such as a brisk walk.
These figures point to the possibility that people are likely to consider walking as an entertainment or means of transportation rather than an organized aerobic physical exercise. It is conceivable that some may think that walking does not carry the same advantages as other strenuous types of activity, including exercise classes, jogging, or biking.
It appears that walking for exercise can really help a lot of people. If you aim to get the most out of walking, you could consider following advice from specialists in the field when putting together a program.
Walking: An ideal form of exercise
Have you ever made a commitment to yourself on New Year’s Day to get moving more, only to realize that you don’t have enough time or you cannot pay for costly classes, assemblies or gym memberships? Maybe concerns about injuries kept you on the sidelines. Strolling might just be the solution to maintaining your commitment. Here’s why:
- You already know how to do it. Just put one foot in front of the other. There’s no learning curve like you would have if you took up a new activity, such as Zumba or tennis.
- You can do it anywhere. Step out your front door. Take a walk from where you work. You can walk around areas that you frequent, such as the grocery store, a shopping center, a place of worship, or the homes of friends and family.
- You don’t need any special equipment. If you’re walking for exercise, it’s best to have a comfortable pair of shoes, preferably sneakers. But that’s it! While there are some items of clothing and gear that can make walking more enjoyable, they are not essential.
- It’s gentle on your knees—and the rest of your body. Unlike running, you keep one foot on the ground at all times when you’re walking, making it a low-impact, joint-friendly type of exercise.
Walking is not only healthy and easy, but it’s also fun
To some people, exercise feels like drudgery. When it comes to strolling, you have countless opportunities to treat yourself.
- You can do it with others. Invite family, friends, or co-workers to join you for a walk. It’s a great way to catch up or get to know someone better. And if you need to have a tough conversation with someone, try doing it while walking. Striding side by side can make discussions easier because you’re more relaxed than when you’re sitting face to face.
- You can get “me” time. Heading out by yourself can be a good way to escape the demands and expectations that occupy much of your time. As you stroll, you can clear your head, relax, and reflect. It can be valuable, quiet “me” time, allowing you to return refreshed.
- You can enjoy a dose of nature. Studies show that spending time in parks or near water can boost your mood. Walking is a great way to get out in nature.
- You can gain a new perspective. The world is different when you view it at 3 mph instead of 25 or 30 mph. You might discover an interesting shop, observe intricate architecture, or meet a friendly person.
- You can be more creative. Stanford University researchers found that people generated twice as many creative responses to problems when walking compared with sitting. And the creative juices continued to flow even when they sat down after their walk—another good reason to take a walking break during the workday.
Types of Walking
All walks are good for you. But there’s more than one way to walk. Depending on your objectives, it may be necessary to switch up the kind of walking you are doing. This is a synopsis of the various types of walking and the advantages that may be gained from them.
- Everyday walking. This is ambling around your house or place of work, walking to and from your car, strolling around shopping, or any other incidental activities that require a little bit of walking.
- Leisure walking. Strolling while chatting with a friend or walking the dog are examples of leisure walking. When you’re walking leisurely or strolling, you’re relaxed and moving easily. Your effort is light enough that you’d be able to sing while you walked.
- Fitness walking. This type of walking is faster and more purposeful. Fitness walking can be done at a variety of levels, but basically it’s a brisk pace. You should be breathing harder and your heart beating faster, but you should still be able to speak in complete sentences.
- Interval walking. For this type of walk, you alternate fast walking for short periods of time with equal or longer intervals of slower or moderate-paced walking to recover.
- Hiking. This is simply walking in the woods or some other natural setting. As with other types of walking, there are different levels of difficulty—from level, well-groomed trails to steep, rocky routes marked with trail blazes that require more attention to ensure you stay on the right path.
Where to Walk
The wonderful aspect of going for a walk is that you can do it virtually anywhere. The decision of where to walk is contingent upon one’s individual opinion and also guaranteeing safety. Some individuals take pleasure in the invigoration of the outdoors and the breathtaking sights while walking, while others prefer the regulated environmental settings and security of walking in a building on a treadmill or in a shopping center. No matter what you prefer, avoid getting into a habit of always walking in the same place.
No matter what you prefer, the most essential part is that you stick to a regular habit of walking.
- Neighborhood. Just step out your front door. You can’t beat that for convenience. If it’s not safe to walk near your home, consider walking in a neighborhood near your office or other locations that you frequent, like the grocery store or a family member’s or friend’s home.
- Downtown. If your community or a nearby one has a downtown area, explore it on foot. You can window-shop along the way or admire the architecture. Downtowns are a good place to walk because they usually have sidewalks and crosswalks to help keep you safe.
- Open-air shopping complexes. Similar to downtowns, these areas usually offer sidewalks and crosswalks, and they are usually cleared if there’s snow or ice.
- Malls. While you could walk around a mall anytime it’s open, arriving early, before the crowds, is the best way to get a good cardio workout. If your mall has multiple floors, take advantage of the stairs.
- Your living room—or any other room in your house. Simply stepping in place will burn calories—about 250 in an hour if you weigh 180 pounds. Try doing it while you watch your favorite TV show.
Health Benefits of Walking
Many research investigations have been conducted to determine the potential benefits of taking part in a walking regimen. Researches have been conducted to ascertain the advantages that a certain population would have, specifically people who are overweight or have an ongoing medical issue. Advantages from this include a lowered likelihood of catching many ailments, as well as social benefits and an improved mindset.
Improved Cardiorespiratory Health
The American Heart Association proposes that beginning a walking routine is a wise first step to bettering cardiac fitness. There is a large amount of evidence to back up their suggestion.
- A research review published in Current Opinions in Cardiology found that walking can play an important role in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in younger, middle, and older men and women, in both healthy and patient populations.
- Research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session suggested that walking for at least 40 minutes several times per week at an average to fast pace is associated with a near 25% drop in the risk of heart failure among postmenopausal women.
- And a 2019 study published in Preventing Chronic Disease suggested that promoting walking, especially among adults at high risk for cardiovascular disease, may help encourage more active lifestyles to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease risk.
Better Bone Health
By following the American College of Sports Medicine’s physical activity regulations, you can create and sustain musculoskeletal wellbeing. Constructing a good regimen of walking could be a way to reach that objective.
Being on your feet while walking is beneficial for your bones since it is a form of weight-bearing exercise. Exercises that make you support your own weight give you the resistance you need from gravity in order to build strong bones.
The National Institutes of Health recommend that people exercise their bones by taking a stroll, plus doing strength-training exercises, ascending stairs, going rambling, running, enjoying a game of tennis, and dancing.
Walking may also slow the progression of bone loss. In a research project that looked into the consequences of physical activity on people suffering from osteoporosis, no notable rise in bone density was observed after only walking, yet scientists found that it could restrict further deterioration. The Arthritis Foundation states that going for regular walks is especially beneficial for those who are overweight and have arthritis.
Decreased Blood Pressure
Engaging in walking may help in developing protection from cardiovascular disease since it is able to positively influence blood pressure. An elevated blood pressure level can be a contributing factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.
An investigation examining 355 people revealed that after 6 months, a walking routine caused considerable drops in diastolic and systolic blood pressure when the person was at rest. At the start of the program, the participants were extremely eager, with an average of 12,256 steps taken by each person every day. The participants had a mean of 8,586 steps every day when the study concluded.
In another study focusing on 529 individuals who had a diagnosis of high blood pressure, researchers observed that 6 months of inconsistent walking, accompanied by supervision, resulted in lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The most significant changes were noticed in participants with higher blood pressure readings at the commencement of the study.
Reduced Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
Research has shown that even performing a moderate activity such as a brisk walk may decrease the odds of developing type 2 diabetes, as stated in the agreement between the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. Investigations also recommend performing 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week.
Research conducted and published showed that engaging in a 30 minute walk daily decreased the odds of developing type 2 diabetes by half. Investigators could not discover sufficient data on other routine physical activities such as gardening and household chores.
Healthy Weight Loss and Maintenance
A calculator for physical activity can be used to approximate the amount of calories expended when walking. An approximation has been calculated taking into consideration your weight, the time period and strength of your physical activity.
Exercising at a fast rate for 30 minutes can burn 136 calories if your body weighs 150 lbs. If you are 175 pounds, the same walk will expend 158 calories. To compare, if someone weighs 150 pounds, they would burn 71 calories standing still for an hour, and a person who weighs 175 pounds would burn 83 calories in the same amount of time.
Research has pointed out that if someone is carrying too much weight and is following a diet with limited calorie intake, walking may make their weight loss more successful. Furthermore, a pilot study looking into the use of a “walking bus” demonstrated improvements in weight reduction among participants. A walking bus is similar to a normal bus route, but instead of a bus, people walking are the means of transportation. A group of people are travelling together on a predetermined path, stopping at different spots along the way to either add in or let off passengers.
A walking regime that is carefully planned can bring advantages like lower tension, more robust bones and maybe even a prolonged existence. It is suggested that walking for at least 150 minutes a week or more at a moderate pace will give you optimum results. If keeping a close eye on the duration and intensity of your workout feels daunting, don’t worry – you don’t have to do it.