I’m sad to admit, for the majority of my life, I didn’t consider walking to be a ‘good enough’ workout for me.
It might be because it’s so ordinary– something I do daily to get from point A to point B. Or maybe it’s because for the longest time I thought for a workout to be effective or worth my time, it had to be as intense as possible. Or maybe it’s because I’ve always perceived walking as a lesser workout to running. Finally, it’s definitely possible I just prefer torturing myself rather than going on a nice walk…who knows?
And, I don’t think I’m alone in placing this ‘not good enough’ stigma on walking.
Well, it’s about time to put that stigma to rest. I stepped on a treadmill to do my first walking incline treadmill workout a few weeks ago and got my ass handed to me – so I’m living proof that you can walk and still get an incredible cardio workout in! It’s a great way to get your heart pumping and improve your overall health and wellbeing. Here are 5 simple reasons why walking is awesome:
Walking is such an integral part of our daily lives. This simple form of exercise requires no special training, and it’s all you need to meet your exercise requirements!
Regardless of your ability or your fitness level, walking is the most accessible form of exercise for most people. It doesn’t even require a gym membership or special equipment, just get outside and get moving. No excuses!
Even though many people view walking as a lesser workout to running, it can actually be just as effective when done right!
Remember burning calories, and working that cardiovascular system is all up to the intensity level you bring to your workout- which is all up to you. If you are aiming for similar calorie burn and stress on your cardiovascular system as a run, your walk will have to be fairly high-intensity.
However, rather than focusing on numbers and metrics when walking, it’s best to focus on how you feel. How are your lungs, and muscles feeling? If you can push yourself faster, and up steeper hills then challenge yourself, and go for it. If you can’t, then stay working right at that level until you’re ready for a new challenge.
It Has a Low-Injury Risk
Luckily, the risk of injury when walking is fairly low. Although, just as with any type of workout, it’s important to gradually incorporate walking into your daily routine, because doing too much too soon of any exercise often leads to injury. And remember, if you’re balancing your new routine with other forms of exercise like cycling, weight lifting, cross training, or yoga- remember to make sure you are carving out time for adequate rest and recovery.
Walking can even minimize the impact of some pain and injury risk. For example, walking just 5-6 miles a week can keep joints loose and prevent stiffness in those with arthritis. It’s also so important for women, and those heading into older age to get good weight-bearing activity to keep those bones strong, and protect against osteoporosis. And walking is just one of the great ways to add weight-bearing activity into your routine.
Walking might seem like it’s just, well, walking. But you can do a lot to a walking workout to increase the difficulty. For example, increase the intensity by increasing your speed, incline or distance, if you’re outside go find some hills or some stairs to climb! Change up your workout so that you’re always challenging yourself in new ways.
Just because walking is a regular part of your day doesn’t mean that you can’t make it challenging and different when you’re working out!
Walking Benefits Mental Health Too!
Physical activity is a proven way to reduce anxiety and depression, and walking is just one of the many ways you can get active and enjoy those benefits. Take your walk outside, and you may enjoy even more benefits, as studies have reported that just spending time in nature can benefit your mental health.
So, if you’re not already walking and you’re looking to make a change in your fitness routine, walking is awesome, and I highly recommend it!