Is Walking Good Exercise? Everything You Need to Know About Walking for Exercise – Health News Today
Is walking good exercise?
For exercise to really count, it has to be hard or complicated, or leave you totally wiped out with muscle pain for days—right? Not at all! While high-intensity activity certainly has its place, so does the most basic, accessible form of exercise: walking. And in 2020, it’s become an even more vital physical activity for many people. (Learn more about walking for exercise.)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), walking is the most popular form of aerobic exercise among adults in the United States. The most recent stats show that more than 145 million adults include walking as part of a physically active lifestyle. People walk for transportation and for fun, relaxation, or exercise, or for other reasons. It makes sense.
“Everybody knows how to do it already, so there’s no learning curve,” says Michele Stanten, certified fitness instructor and author of Walk off Weight and coauthor of The Walking Solution.
“When you believe in your ability to do [an exercise], you’re more likely to stick with it,” she adds. “That’s why so many people walk for exercise. It’s easy to do, and you can do it anywhere. You just need just a good supportive pair of shoes.” (These are the walking shoes podiatrists recommend.)
There are also endless ways to walk. Walking your dog, hiking, sight-seeing, power-walking, treadmill striding, and mall walking are all legit ways to get some steps in.
Walking is great for all exercise levels
One of the biggest reasons walking is so popular is because it’s a low-impact exercise, meaning it doesn’t put nearly as much pressure on the joints as running or any sort of jumping or hopping movement. The risk of injury is relatively low, says Lauryn Mohr, personal trainer and metabolic specialist at Life Time Fitness in Omaha, Nebraska.
Starting is easy
For people just getting started with fitness, walking is a wonderful form of cardio or aerobic exercise, says Mohr. “You don’t need any prior or special knowledge or training to start.”
Just get up and walk, and you’ll get your heart and lungs working. Unlike other forms of cardio—like running, biking, dance workouts, or boxing—walking isn’t intimidating and it doesn’t require lessons or special equipment.
Not just for beginners
But it’s also great for advanced athletes, who may think it isn’t challenging enough, Mohr says. “Walking is very, very underrated.”
For people who already have a higher level of cardiovascular fitness, walking is a stellar activity for recovery. It’s a gentle way to get the blood flowing and circulate oxygen and nutrients to hard-worked muscles, Mohr explains.
Excellent for recovery
“Enhanced blood flow is going to improve recovery and help ease muscle soreness,” she says….