Walking is one of the safest and very effective forms of aerobic exercise for anyone, young and old. It has become one of the most popular forms of aerobic exercise today.
Medical and fitness experts are routinely encouraging people to get out and walk as a way to improve cardiovascular endurance, recover from an injury, prevent heart disease, lose weight, etc.
Walking is the most natural and simple form of movement. Everyone, well, almost everyone, knows how to walk. We have been doing it all our lives. It takes a while to master and enjoy running, cycling, and indeed other cardiovascular exercises. Walking does not require any special equipment. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. This type of activity can be performed anywhere, you can walk outdoors or you can walk indoors. Most people enjoy getting out for a walk. Research has shown that the easier and more convenient an exercise to perform, the more likely an individual will stay with it.
- Walking challenges your heart not your body
- Negligible learning curve
- Low skill workout
- Little to no cost
- Big benefit
- Convenient for time and location
Not so long ago scientific research confirmed that physical inactivity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. People who live sedentary lifestyles have a much greater chance of developing heart disease and other debilitating diseases – and dying from them. We don’t have to run a marathon every day to protect our heart and health. Moderate exercise, like regular walking, is enough.
Health Benefits of Walking:
- Reduce the risk of CHD and stroke
- Reduce body fat
- Enhance mental well being
- Increase bone density helping prevent Osteoporosis
- Help to control body weight
- Improve blood lipid profile
- Help flexibility and co-ordination hence reducing the risk of falls
- Reduce the risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes
- Reduce the risk of cancer of the colon
- Normalize blood pressure
- Reduce high cholesterol
Finding a safe and convenient place for fitness exercises is sometimes difficult and expensive. Walking as an exercise has the edge because you can walk almost anywhere, including areas that are not suitable for jogging, running, or cycling, almost any time you want. Almost all walkers tend to have their favorite places to walk.
Here are a few favorite walking areas:
- Urban parks and green spaces
- Streets and paths
- The beach
- Public gardens and estates
- Anywhere you can walk the dog
- Riverside towpaths or canal banks
- School or college running tracks
- Seafront promenades
- Hospital grounds
There are many different types of walking programs a person can embark on. Several types can increase the intensity of the workout and move you to a higher fitness level. Some of these techniques require no skill, whereas others are skill dependant. The inclusion of equipment can increase the fun and effectiveness if used properly and provided they do not let you slow the pace too much. So there is no need to get bored with regular walking…
- Strolling or Casual Walking
- Purposeful or Functional walking
- Brisk or Fitness Walking
- Striding or Aerobic Walking
- Power Walking or Weighted Walking
- Treadmill Walking
- Race Walking
- Hiking or Distance Walking
- Resistive Cord Walking
Walking will only contribute to the maintenance and improvement of health and fitness, if it is of sufficient intensity, is carried out with sufficient regularity and is performed for a sufficient length of time.
Moderate to brisk walking that challenges the cardio-respiratory system and can lead to health and fitness benefits associated with “aerobic exercise”, developed to turn walking into a workout.
As an example below the illustrated three-tier program of different walking techniques, developed to turn walking into a workout.
Level 1 (3mph / 4.8kmp +) WALKING FOR HEALTH
Level 2 (4mph / 6.4kmp +) FITNESS WALKING
Level 3 (5mph / 8.0kmp +) RACE WALKING
My name is Tomas, and I own Fitness Designs Leeds Personal Training. I help ordinary people become healthier, happier and safer through my Circuit, Cardio, Nutrition and Self Defence training programmes.