Yes, walking is a workout. To what degree of a workout, is an even better question. Each person is different and their level of activity should not be compared to others. This is not to say that a little competition doesn’t inspire us from time to time.
Not all workouts are the same !
Comparing a walking workout to another workout activity such as running, is like comparing apples to oranges. Each activity uses a different set of muscles and has its own benefits. To make a decision about walking for your personal workout, you should know some benefits that I will discuss in the remainder of this article.
Benefits of Walking
My cardiologist tells me that my heart is a muscle and it needs to be exercised.
A regular walking routine will not only strengthen your heart muscle, but also will help keep high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes in check.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults get 150 minutes of medium intensity workouts in a week. These workouts can even be done in shorter time spans of 10, 15 or 20 minutes that all add up to the weekly goal.
Walking for 20 to 30 minutes on a regular basis, may jump start that desired weight reduction plan. Many times people will find that over time they will be able to fit into smaller clothes. This is not a crash fix it all weight reduction strategy. You should consider walking on a regular basis a part of your lifestyle.
Muscle and Joints
Walking is a low impact activity, which doesn’t put the extreme pounding on your joints. Your muscles are exercised during the walking activity and you should incorporate stretching exercises during the warm-up and cool down stages of your walk.
You can also begin to tone your legs, buttock and middle section by changing the intensity or location of your walk. Changing to a trail with hills around a park will use different muscles and overtime you will see results.
Manage Blood Sugar
I can personally testify to this. The days that I don’t walk my blood sugar is higher. Walking is very important as one step in the management of diabetes.
Slows Mental Decline
We generally find that our brain functions better when we take care of our bodies. Walking can be one of the steps you employ to take care of yourself. Walking increases the blood flow to your brain. Your memory will benefit from increased blood flow and some diseases related to memory function can be warded off by walking 20-30 minutes a day.
Exercise has been shown to reduce your stress. Among those benefits include a chance to take your mind of the worries of the day. Walking with a friend can give you something else to think about along with some companionship. My wife and I enjoy taking walks in the woods that allow us to experience God’s creation firsthand and just get away from our house.
I remember those days I would come home from wrestling or baseball practice. Those activities would make me tired. Ultimately physical activity helps you to have that drained feeling. Even now with my less strenuous walking exercise, I come home ready for rest.
The timing of your walking workout may be important to you. If you are a person who has their energy level sparked by a brisk walk, you wouldn’t want to walk just before bedtime.
Research has shown that people who had previously been with little or no exercise, after starting a walking workout for 20-30 minutes several times a week experienced and increase in their energy level.
Walking gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing to all parts of your body. This improved circulation improves the function of your body.
Here are the items you should consider when you start a walking workout plan:
- Make sure you check with your Doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to do a walking workout.
- You will need comfortable clothing, including lightweight shoes and socks.
- Don’t start out at full speed, learn to warm up and cool down.
- You be the judge, if you haven’t walked 20 minutes straight for some time, start out with a lesser time, say 5 or 10 minutes. Then as your endurance builds you can extend the time.
- Set a regular time to schedule your walk. Turn this time into a habit by keeping the schedule.
- Use good technique with a natural arm swing and posture. Don’t look down all the time, look up their is a great world out their to observe.
- Keep motivated by changing up the location or the pace. Invite a friend to walk with you.
- Learn to incorporate muscle stretches in the warm up and cool down phase of your workout.
Enjoy the Benefits of your Walking Lifestyle
Walking with it’s many benefits is a workout. For you to see the benefits you must be consistent in doing your workout routines. Don’t be afraid to change things up by changing locations, intensity or time. You want to enjoy walking or it will not be part of your life style.
Before starting any walking routine you should ask your doctor if you are healthy enough to engage in the walking exercise.
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