Article by: Max Hall
As a trainer who has been working with people on improving their fitness and health for a decade I often recommend walking due to its many benefits.
The benefits of walking include improved heart health, increased cardio capacity and endurance, increased recovery capacity, and a low impact tool for weight loss. While there is no issue with other forms of cardio walking is by far one of the most accessible forms of exercise for achieving goals from powerlifting to weight loss.
In the world of fitness, there are countless workout routines and exercise programs promising to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. While many of these options can be effective, one of the simplest and most accessible forms of exercise is often overlooked: walking. Walking for fitness offers a wide range of benefits that can improve your overall well-being, both physically and mentally.
Table Of Contents
- 1. Walking Workouts: A Gentle Start
- Ideal for Beginners
- Low-Impact Exercise
- 2. The Physical Benefits of Walking
- Cardiovascular Health
- Enhanced Recovery
- Weight Management
- 3. Walking for Health: Beyond the Physical
- Stress Reduction
- Mental Clarity
- 4. Walking Benefits: A Sustainable Approach
- Setting Goals
- Proper Footwear
- Staying Hydrated
- Tracking Your Progress
- Sneaky Steps
- Schedule Your Workouts
- Distract Yourself
- 5. Conclusion
- Sustainable Path to Health and Well-Being
Walking Workouts: A Gentle Start
For those new to exercise or looking for a low-impact workout, walking is an excellent choice.
It's an activity that nearly anyone can do, regardless of age or fitness level. Unlike more strenuous exercises, such as high-intensity interval training or weightlifting, walking doesn't put excessive stress on your joints and muscles.
It's a gentle way to ease into a fitness routine, making it an ideal choice for beginners and advanced lifters looking to add to their routine.
Due to walking’s gentle nature it is an ideal form of exercise for strength sport athletes such as powerlifters, weightlifters and strongman competitors.
Walking can be used by these athletes to manage weight, and increase endurance and recover while having a small if any impact to their training.
The Physical Benefits of Walking
Cardiovascular Health and Capacity
Walking is a fantastic way to boost your cardiovascular health. It gets your heart rate up, increasing blood flow and improving your heart's efficiency.
Regular walking can lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Increasing your heart rate for bouts of cardio lowers your resting heart rate and increases your capacity to do cardio or perform other tasks with a lower heart rate.
The lower your heart rate while performing cardio, lifting, or daily tasks the less taxing they will be on and the more you can do.
This combined with a lower resting heart rate means you will have a great capacity to perform tasks and still recover from them. This is known as “work capacity”.
This higher work capacity is beneficial for building muscle and strength over the long term.
You can perform more sets and reps in training and still recover from them the better your work capacity is.
Walking can be a valuable tool for weight management. It burns calories and can help you maintain a healthy weight or support your weight loss goals.
Combining walking with a balanced diet can lead to significant improvements in your overall fitness.
Walking for Health: Beyond the Physical
The benefits of walking extend beyond just physical fitness. It's a holistic exercise that can positively impact your mental and emotional well-being as well.
Spending time in nature while walking can reduce stress and boost your mood.
The tranquility of a natural setting and the rhythmic motion of walking can have a calming effect, helping to alleviate anxiety and stress.
Even when not performed in nature, even just walking on a treadmill or through your neighborhood can be meditative and a great time to reflect.
Expert Weighs In: Oftentimes I find myself putting on a podcast while walking and reflecting on the topic and life in general. These are some of the times I've grown most as a person honestly and learned the most about myself.
Walking is known to enhance cognitive function. It can stimulate creativity, improve concentration, and enhance problem-solving skills.
Taking a brisk walk during your workday can lead to increased productivity.
If you find yourself in a slump when it comes to productivity, instead of sitting and continuing to ponder the problem, a useful strategy can be to get up and take a walk to reset and think about it once your mind is clear.
Walking Benefits: A Sustainable Approach
One of the greatest advantages of walking for fitness is its sustainability. Unlike intense workouts that may lead to burnout or injury, walking can be incorporated into your daily routine without the fear of overexertion. You can walk to work, take a stroll during lunch, or go for an evening walk with family or friends.
To reap the benefits of walking for fitness, consider the following tips:
Start with achievable goals, such as walking for 30 minutes a day or a step goal, and gradually increase your duration and intensity.
A helpful place to start is to find out where your average step count per week is. Once you know this number you can gradually increase the number by 1000-2000 steps per day on average to help assist in getting the benefits of walking.
You can also adjust up and down based on what goals you have and what stage of life you are in. This does not need to remain a consistent upwards trajectory.
Goals change over time make sure you are adjusting your walking goals to your fitness and health goals.
Invest in a comfortable pair of walking shoes to provide adequate support and prevent injury.
A good running shoe will usually do the trick although there has been a shift in trend to a lot of people preferring a barefoot shoe. This could be something you find helps with your overall foot strength and health.
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your walks to stay hydrated.
It is helpful to make sure to bring a water bottle with you on designated walks.
Related Article : THE VITAL CONNECTION: HYDRATION AND FITNESS PERFORMANCE UNVEILED
Track Your Progress
Use a fitness tracker or smartphone app to monitor your steps, distance, and overall progress.
Many smart watches include this function already but if you do not have a smart watch cheap fitness and step trackers are available.
Sneaky steps are ways you sneak increased step counts into your daily life outside of designated walking workouts.
This can include but is not limited to parking further away from the store when shopping, walking all the aisles of a store while you're there, under desk treadmills to walk while working, pacing while taking calls.
Schedule Your Workouts
It is important to schedule in your workouts to ensure you make time for them whether you are a lifter that often skips cardio or someone doing walking as your main workout.
Decide how many designated walks you would like to do per week and for what duration and intensity and build them into your schedule accordingly.
Cardio training, especially walking on a treadmill, can be boring and hard to sustain if you don't find a way to make it worth your time.
Strategies to help with this can be listening to a podcast or watching anime while doing your cardio.
Expert Weighs In: A personal go-to for me is one anime episode after every workout while doing an incline walk. In a busy world where it's hard to fit in both cardio and anime this allows me to work both into my life
Walking to the Finish Line
Walking for fitness offers a wide array of physical and mental benefits. It's a simple, accessible, and sustainable way to improve your health and well-being. Whether you're looking to kickstart a fitness journey or maintain a healthy lifestyle, walking can be a valuable addition to your routine.
Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions.
About The Author
Hi, my name is Max Hall, I am a personal trainer, powerlifting coach and First Step Athlete. To work with me or find more of my work please follow me on Instagram.
American Heart Association. "Walking: A Step in the Right Direction."
Mayo Clinic. "Walking: Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health."
Harvard Health Publishing. "Walking: Your Steps to Health."