Is Walking Good Exercise? For Some People, Walking Is the Best Exercise

Is-Walking-Good-Exercise-Uber-WalkerAny walking is better than no walking at all. Common sense tells us that a person who routinely walks 5 miles in the course of a week will be generally healthier than a person who walks only 1 mile per week. And many academic studies back up that notion. For example, a study by researchers at Washington University examined the effects of walking for 18 months on a group of overweight adults in their 50s. Subjects who walked at a moderate pace for 45 to 60 minutes per day lost an average of 22 pounds without dieting and had healthier hearts than control subjects in their 30s and 40s.

Dozens of other studies revealed similar results: the physical activity of walking is an excellent form of exercise. In some cases, walking is a better exercise than running because you don’t risk as many injuries with low-impact walking.

Walking is especially good exercise for older people, for people who have been injured in the past, and for people trying to change their lifestyles to be healthier. Walking allows you to control your pace, starting from a comfortable stride to a more brisk step. And the faster your pace, the better the health benefits, as revealed in the recent National Walkers Health Study.

Is Walking Good Exercise? Take the 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge

Brisk walking gives you the best exercise results because you use more muscle groups and burn more calories. But what is a brisk walking pace? The answer varies depending on your body mass, your experience exercising, and how fast you are willing to move. We’re not talking about race walking here—that is a specialized form of walking that you don’t need to master to get a good workout from walking.

Rather, a brisk pace equals between 13 and 20 minutes per mile, depending on how fit you are. Remember that if losing weight is your goal, you need to calculate your weight versus the distance you walk to determine how many calories you are burning. And the more you walk, the faster your pace will naturally become as you get more into shape.

To get the most out of walking for exercise, you must challenge yourself. This means your exercise walking pace should make you breathe harder and push your muscles. You want to “feel the burn,” but not to the point where you might injure yourself. So your goal when first starting a walking program should be to walk a set distance in a set amount of time.

A popular and recommended goal is to take 10,000 steps per day. That’s about 5 miles of walking, and you can actually count your steps using a pedometer. A recent study by the University of Tennessee found that counting steps rather than minutes is a more effective way to get the most from walking for exercise. Women in the study who walked 10,000 steps per day had 40% less body fat than subjects who took fewer steps. Most people in the natural course of a typical day take about 5,000 steps. So if you’re just beginning a walking regimen, you should gradually work toward that goal.

Is Walking Good Exercise? Consider These Fun Facts About Walking

Walking for exercise is a fun and relatively easy way to lose weight, get physically fit, and improve your mental health.

Walking is an effective antidepressant that keeps your mind and body sharp, increasing natural endorphins and releasing stress and tension.

Walking increases blood circulation, improving cardiovascular health and helping you think more clearly.

Walking 3 or more times per week is equal to the old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and can cut your healthcare costs.

Walking for exercise cuts down on driving and helps make the planet greener. Just think how much it costs to operate a car for one year—up to $6,000. Walking for exercise is free!