Walking for Exercise
Walking for Exercise: An Introduction
- An Activity You Do Every Day
- The Number One Activity Everywhere!
Running ... no ... cycling ... no ... skating ... no. None of these activities can make the claim that walking can. Walking is the number one participation sport worldwide. Why? Well here are a few good reasons.
Easy to Do
There is no great trick to walking. It does not require any special skills or advanced conditioning. Walking does not require any special equipment or clothing. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes, comfortable clothing, a pedometer, and you are all set.
When Hippocrates said that "walking is a man's best medicine", he did not realize that thousands of years later new benefits of walking would be discovered daily. Some healthy benefits of walking include:
- Burns almost as many calories as jogging
- Eases back pain
- Slims your waist
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces levels of bad cholesterol
- Reduces heart attack risk
- Enhances stamina and energy
- Lessens anxiety and tension
- Improves muscle tone
- Easy on your joints
- Reduces appetite
- Increases aerobic capacity
- Can be done in short bouts
- Slows down osteoporosis bone loss
- Can be done when you are traveling
Walking is probably the safest exercise you can do. It does not require prior training or conditioning and does not involve a great deal of physical exertion in the beginning. Studies have even shown that due to the design of our body, walking is more natural than sitting, standing or running and walking is not as stressful to the body as other exercises.
For example, running is much more stressful on the heart and joints and leads to many more injuries. The shock impact of a runner's step is three to four times a person's weight, while walking is only one-and-one-half. Some sports like basketball and tennis can have a shock force of seven times a person's weight.
While walking is easier on your body, it can be just as beneficial as running in helping you lose weight. If you run for 30 minutes at 5 miles per hour you will burn about 285 calories. If you walk for 30 minutes at 4 miles per hour you will burn 165 calories on a level surface, 225 on a slight incline of five percent and 360 calories on a ten percent incline.